Bluefield Coca-Cola workers reach new contract agreement, avoid strike

West Virginia

In this Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 photo a truck with the Coca-Cola logo, behind left, maneuvers in a parking lot at a bottling plant in Needham, Mass. The Coca-Cola Co. reports financial results Friday, Oct. 18. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOWK)—Employees at the Bluefield, West Virginia Coca-Cola distribution center have reached a new contract agreement with the company, avoiding a strike.

According to the West Virginia AFL-CIO, 95% of Teamster Local 175 members employed by the company voted to accept Coca-Cola Consolidated’s latest offer for settlement of a new contract. The previous contract had expired on July 28, 2021, and the new contract will include more wage increases and a decrease in the amounts of money required to be contributed to health insurance by employees.

“The Union held off on striking on the expiration date in hopes that the company would realize that their position was unreasonable and would opt to make a new offer that would fairly compensate the Bluefield employees for their work. The employees also had hoped to avoid any disruptions to their loyal customers.  We had planned to begin the strike this week, but the company agreed late last week to engage in further negotiations. It is disappointing that this company cannot just come to the bargaining table and agree to a reasonable offer, as most other companies do. But at least they are consistent. The contract covers three years and will provide employees with a minimum of $1.80 an hour in wage increases with very small changes to the benefit structure in year three of the contract,” said Ken Hall, President of Teamsters Local 175.

Even though this contract negotiation was successful, there are at least three Teamster Local Unions in Ohio that have canceled their extension agreements with Coca-Cola, meaning there could be strikes at those locations in the future.

“Rest assured, that although we are happy that we have resolved our contract dispute, our local union will stand side by side with those locals in Ohio to ensure that they also receive a reasonable offer of settlement from this company,” said Ken Hall.

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