PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Workers are now on strike at a local Coca-Cola bottling and distribution plant.
Teamsters Local 830 set up picket lines in front of Liberty Coca-Cola in Juniata Park Sunday morning.
Teamsters Local 830 is the Tri-State region's largest Coca-Cola bottler and distributor. Union members "overwhelmingly rejected" the latest contract from Liberty Coca-Cola and unanimously voted to strike.
The union, which represents drivers, warehouse-production workers and sales/marketing personnel, said 3,500 employees are striking.
The union says they rejected the company's latest contract citing compensation as the main issue.
"Liberty Coca-Cola can end this impasse quickly by giving our members a fair contract, one that accounts for the runaway inflation in America and our quality of life issues," Teamsters Local 830 Secretary-Treasurer Daniel H. Grace said in a statement. "Until then, however, we'll remain on strike. Our resolve and solidarity are unshakable."
The company released a statement calling their latest offer "generous" and pledged to continue negotiations:
"At Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, our employees are essential to our shared success, and we are always committed to helping them build bright futures. We have been negotiating in good faith with union leadership over the last few months. We presented a contract for our 400 members that offers the highest wage increases in Coca-Cola/Teamster Local 830's history, along with a generous health and welfare benefits package. The considerable offerings are in addition to the millions of dollars we have invested in our facility over the past few years, including new trucks for our drivers, new warehouse technology and a fitness center – all to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for our hardworking men and women.
While Daniel Grace, secretary-treasurer for the union, and other national and local leadership endorsed the contract, unfortunately, the Local 830 members voted to reject the last, best offer and agreed to strike effective April 16, 2023. We remain committed to finding a solution that fairly balances the needs of the business, our customers, and associates, and will continue to negotiate in good faith with union leadership.
We have a strong contingency plan in place that allows for continued delivery of our products to our customers and consumers throughout the Philadelphia region market. We will continue to work with the union to reach a fair and equitable solution quickly."
Liberty Coca-Cola also bottles and distributes beverages like Dr. Pepper, Dasani Water, Fanta Soda, Gold Peak Iced Tea, Hi-C, Monster Energy, Powerade, Sprite and other brands.
A contingency plan is in place so Liberty Coca-Cola products continue to be delivered around the region.
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