Coca-Cola employees strike at south Alabama, Mississippi plants - FOX10 News | WALA

Coca-Cola employees strike at south Alabama, Mississippi plants

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Coca-Cola workers are on strike over wages and benefits (Photo: Asha Staples, Reporter) Coca-Cola workers are on strike over wages and benefits (Photo: Asha Staples, Reporter)
MOBILE, AL (WALA) -

Some Coca-Cola workers at the Mobile plant and other area facilities walked off the job before dawn Thursday morning. 

They say they are on strike over wages and benefits after a change of ownership.

Later Thursday morning, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United issued the following statement:

"Despite Coca-Cola UNITED’s good faith effort to negotiate a new labor contract, Teamsters Local 991 leaders, unwilling to come to an agreement, have called a strike as of today, August 9th.
 
"Coca-Cola facilities in Mobile, Leroy, Robertsdale (AL) and Ocean Springs, (MS) continue to operate.
 
"Coca-Cola UNITED has activated a business continuity plan to assure customers continue to receive the product delivery and service they expect."

In Tillman's corner, workers walked the corners of Highway 90 and Coca-Cola Street.

"The work that we put out we feel we deserve the pay for. That's why the guys are sticking together for their families and for others."

One employee who didn't want to be identified says after an ownership change back in October, the new owner, Coca-Cola UNITED, has pushed for worker wages to be reduced and for more in insurance contributions.

A deal Teamsters Union 991 President Lavon Lindsey says isn't fair.

"I just say it's corporate greed. We want to get somewhere. We want to get a deal done and we have for over 50 years. But with this new employer, they've just been making the employees take something substandard which has pushed us to the strike," Lindsey said.

FOX10 News reached out to Coca-Cola UNITED this afternoon for an updated statement and response to the local protests.

The company's Director of Communications Linda Sewell said in part: "Our associates are our priority and we'll continue to negotiate in good faith until we can reach an agreement - that's our goal. We're hoping to find a good resolution to this."

Strikers say they will be out here day and night until an agreement can be reached with Coca-Cola UNITED. They say they're hopeful it will be sooner than later.

"The company knows what the issues are. We've sat down at the table with him numerous times, bargain for weeks straight to tell them the same thing, and now with the charges that we have filed, we're hoping that with the charges and the strike maybe they will reach out to us and say OK let's try to get something done and stop there minute changes and start bargaining," Lindsey said.

In the meantime, Linsdey says he's proud to see dozens of workers standing together.

"The local union is behind them. Just hang in there. It's overwhelming to see this group stand to gather united as they are. I'm so grateful for the group," Lindsey said.

Lindsey says Coca-Cola UNITED and the union are set to meet with a federal mediator Monday in hope of reaching an agreement.

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