BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Members of Teamsters Local 175 have rejected a final contract offer from Coca Cola Consolidated and authorized a strike.
The union workers who distribute Coke products out of Bluefield are under a contract that is set to expire on July 28.
According to the union, the company wants the workers to pay more for health insurance and proposes pay increases that are 20% less than than what the company’s workers in other parts of the state are receiving.
Teamsters Local 175 President Ken Hall said the union isn’t buying the company’s claims that they lost money during the pandemic.
“It is disgusting to see a company attempt to treat a group of their own employees like second class citizens. There is no justification whatsoever to pay these employees, who perform the exact same work as employees in other parts of the state, substantially less while trying to require them to pay considerably more for their benefits,” Hall said in a statement released by the union Saturday.
The Bluefield workers went out on strike in 2018 and got support from union Coke workers in other parts of the state. A strike in the year 2000 lasted for 21 weeks.