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Coke and Local 175 still without contract


Coke drivers on the picket line at Whitman Tuesday, May ninth.


METRO NEWS


WHITMAN Union Coke drivers in Charleston and Logan continue deliveries without a contract.


Members of Teamsters Local 175 rejected a previous contract with Coca-Cola and staged a two-day strike last week over unresolved grievances. Trucks were rolling once again Thursday, May eleventh. The union said they returned to work because smaller stores, which support the union, would be negatively impacted. Local 175 President Ken Hall said those stores were ignored by Coke during the two-day work stoppage.


Hall said the strike was based on two particular grievances. Hall said the union and Coca-Cola consolidated are far apart on a new contract. One sticking point is a contract that Coke entered into with Sheetz convenience stores by shipping product straight to the store’s warehouses. Sheetz would then deliver the product to their stores.


Local 175 members may add the Sheetz stores to their picket line targets in an ongoing labor dispute with Coca-Cola Consolidated.


The two-day strike on May ninth and tenth spread beyond members in Charleston and Logan. Members in Bluefield, Clarksburg and Parkersburg along with others refused to cross a picket line


Hall told WV Metro News they’ve had another issue with the company who cut off workers’

health insurance this week without notice.


“They sent letters to employees saying their insurance had been cut off the day before, meaning no notice. We don’t think the contract allows it, particularly Clarksburg, Parkersburg, and Bluefield. The company cut their benefits and they weren’t on strike, they simply honored a picket line,” he explained.


The insurance benefit has since been reinstated.


According to Hall, there has been no communication between the union and the company

about returning to the bargaining table, but he added they are willing to meet and find a resolution to the ongoing dispute. If it happens, it may involve mediation.


“The federal mediator contacted me to inquire if the union would be willing

to go back to the bargaining table. I informed her we would, any day, any

time to try and get to the table and get this resolved,” he said.


It’s unclear if the mediator has plans to bring the two sides together to hammer out the concerns of each in the form of a new contract.


Coca-Cola Consolidated has said very little about the ongoing dispute, other than to say a work stoppage is not in their employees’ best interest and a statement saying they made what they consider a fair offer to employees and it was rejected.


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