West Virginia Union Coca Cola workers prepare to go on strike
BLUEFIELD, WV (WOWK) – Members of Teamsters Local 175 in Bluefield voted unanimously to reject Coca-Cola Consolidated’s final contract offer on Friday.
Ken Hall, union president, said the contract offered Bluefield workers 20% less money per hour than Charleston workers and higher pay for health care.
âThey do the same in Bluefield as they do in Charleston, there is no difference,â Hall said. “To think that they would make such a drastic change in stance is just mind boggling.”
Ron Johnson, a trade unionist at Bluefield, is not happy with the company’s offer. He says other unionized workers in West Virginia are supporting their efforts for a better contract.
“They will honor our picket lines so that the distribution of Coca-Cola is not just affected in Bluefield, it will be affected statewide,” he said.
Johnson says the union and the company have not spoken since the last offer and is waiting to see if they make another proposal soon.
âSomeone is already making more than us and they are getting a higher percentage of that increase than we are,â he said. âThen, the pay gap from one establishment to another only widens. “
Hall says it can happen to any of their union members statewide.
âThere may be some difference in wages and this could be justified due to the size of the market,â he said. “It’s very simple ‘what we’re getting this year in the contract’ and it’s 31 cents an hour less than what they gave Charleston.”
Hall’s concern is that unionized state workers will not get the raises they deserve.
âIn my opinion, they’re trying to take advantage of Bluefield because there are fewer employees at Bluefield,â Hall said.
Bluefield’s current contract expires July 28.