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Nasty Coke Strike in Washington Over Health and Retirement Benefits-Drivers Go On Strike and Coke Cuts Their Health Insurance Of

Posted Aug 27 2010 8:23pm

The article states that talks broke off and thus the workers went on strike and as we are seeing today, hardly anybody strikes over wages any more, it’s all benefits. 

You can read the entire article that goes into additional detail but here’s the crux of the matter is is the real battle zone: image

“The company canceled the employees' health care plan on Tuesday - just one day after the disgruntled workers, who are members of six local chapters of the Teamsters, walked off the job claiming the company failed to bargain in good faith.
The workers said Coke canceled their health care through the end of August even though they've already paid their premium. The Teamsters, who claim the company is trying to eliminate health care for retirees and to raise employees' health care premiums by 800 percent, said union members expected to have health coverage until the end of the month.”

And the response:

“However, Bob Phillips, Coca-Cola's vice president of public affairs, said the company did not cancel the workers' health care coverage as punishment, but rather because the striking workers are not eligible as long as they refuse to work for the company. He said the workers were paid only through Aug. 14, and a fee scheduled to be deducted from employees' Sept. 3 paycheck was to cover health care from Aug. 15 to Aug. 28. Because the coverage has been canceled, Phillips said no medical deductions will be made on the next paycheck”.

It’s been a long time ago since I was on any negotiating committees with companies who have union employees but if things are still run the way they use to, the Union was the one with the health and benefit plans and did the administration, but maybe that has changed to where it comes from the company instead? 

Under old conditions when a strike would occur it was the company doing the collecting and not paying the union, and this instance talks about deductions from employee paychecks.  Either way it sounds like the company said we’re not writing a health and welfare check because they workers are not here that I believe would go to the union and not much the business agent representative I guess could do at that point for the employees.  Now if they are by chance paying direct to an insurance company without a Union administrator, then that’s a bit different with the company saying “sorry Charlie” in essence. 

I guess Coke is starting to run short in some places and both have agreed to sit image back down again at the table.  Perhaps nobody thought about the health insurance benefits being cancelled in a manner as such so you can tell the Coke company has a “bean counter” minded person watching every cent. 

At any rate the response on cutting off the health insurance from a human stand point was pretty doggone cold and calculates as well as the answer as strikes as such usually get settled in a few days and it’s back to business as usual.

I don’t know what the negotiation details are but the article quotes an 800% increase over all so I am guessing this is a number attached on to both health and retirement benefits. 

Things have changed too and this is not like the old Jimmy Hoffa days either as over 10 years ago when I worked in Sales for Yellow Freight I used to take time out in the mornings and help route drivers with learning their own personal computer skills before their shifts started, and heck I used to do the same over at the Pfizer facility who was a client.   

(It was interesting being the only marketing/sales rep that actually went beyond selling and helped people with their own personal learning and it kept competition at bay too so skills and knowledge does pay:) There were drivers that had more on the ball than some of the supervisors they worked for with business knowledge. 

They were into learning and asked for the help which I was glad to chime in and I would guess many of their drivers have at this time and day run their own algorithms to determine and figure out where the cost reductions the company is tasking for would take them. 

I guess we need to get those insurance exchanges rolling soon as these types of stories get uglier all the time with the “business decisions” made in order to keep and create profit  as the algorithms giveth and they take away and human ethics are being lost along the way.  BD

SEATTLE -- The 500 striking employees of Coca-Cola have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company over their canceled health care coverage.
The suit filed on Friday alleges the company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law.
A Coca-Cola spokesman said the company had not yet reviewed the complaint, and refused to comment.

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