FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 22, 2017

      

          

 

Contact: Ed Weber or Joe Vitta
(516) 303-1455

                                                       

New York, NY: Without notice, and in violation of its contract with Teamsters Local 812, Coca Cola Refreshments laid off eight veteran workers, effective immediately. Teamsters Local 812 represents approximately 1,600 workers employed by Coca Cola.

Teamsters Local 812 President Ed Weber said, “So much for Coke’s mission of being ‘a great place to work where people are inspired’. Coke no longer values a skilled and dedicated workforce and has totally disregarded our legally binding contract. This is a direct attack on the middle class jobs and the workers who have made this city and Coca Cola what they are today.”

Local 812 Secretary-Treasurer Joe Vitta vowed to deploy union resources on every front to preserve the jobs. “We won’t let this injustice stand. In addition to fighting this through our grievance process and other legal means, we will bring Coke’s actions to the attention of our elected officials, union allies and the community as a whole. Americans are fed up with arrogant companies that profit off the backs of low wage workers, while presenting themselves as good corporate citizens deserving of government handouts.”

The workers were employed in Coke’s Bronx-based Cold Drink Equipment Service Department. Each is a Local 812 member and New York City resident. On average, these skilled workers had been employed at Coke for a decade. Their job duties included delivering and servicing Coke’s fountain and vending machines.

Coke is replacing its skilled workforce with fly-by-night companies that rely on high turnover, low-paid labor. These companies, primarily located outside of city limits, pay wages too low to support a family. The companies are known for deplorable safety records and the use of day laborers.

Jerry Gadsden of Queens, a laid off Cooler Mover, said, “I’ve got a wife, four children and a mortgage. The pay and benefits of this job have allowed me to take care of my family. I’ve been at Coke for 17 years and had been looking forward to eventually retiring with a decent pension. Jobs like this are hard to find.”

Roberto Collazo, a father of three from the Bronx, added, ”Coke always had a good reputation. I gave them my best for the past 10 years and never got in trouble. We had all been working overtime, so the lay offs came as a total surprise. They are playing with people’s lives. If we let them break our contract language, what other laws will they violate?”

Local 812 proudly represents more than 3,500 Teamster families working in the beverage industry. Our members produce, haul, deliver, merchandise and sell soda, water, beer and sports drinks throughout the New York Metropolitan area.

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