Following a failed negotiation of new labor contracts, the employees of local Coca-Cola bottling and sales facilities have gone on strike for better wages and insurance benefits.
In the earlier hours of Thursday, Aug. 9, employees of Coca-Cola UNITED plants in Mobile, Leroy, Robertsdale and Ocean Springs, Mississippi, announced they would be striking, and this morning several employees were seen outside some of those facilities with signs reading “unfair labor practices” and “#cokelivesmatter.”
Headquartered in Birmingham, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. is the second largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and one of the United States’ biggest bottlers of the famous soda products.
However, last October, the company announced a big consolidation as UNITED took over 10 sales and distribution regions in the Southeast that included the four facilities in the greater Mobile area.
The new owner says it made a good faith effort to negotiate a new labor contract with Teamsters Local 991 leaders, but those talks eventually fell apart and the employee organization called for a strike beginning Aug. 9.
At this point, it is still unclear how long the strike might last. However, Coca-Cola UNITED said it is already taking steps to ensure distribution isn’t disrupted to local customers.
“[The] Coca-Cola facilities in Mobile, Leroy, Robertsdale (AL) and Ocean Springs, (MS) continue to operate,” the company said a statement Thursday morning. “Coca-Cola UNITED has activated a business continuity plan to ensure customers continue to receive the product delivery and service they expect.”