Coca-Cola to start flowing as striking workers reach agreement

Teamsters workers in Richmond, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and the Sunshine Coast settle with company

Lower Mainland grocery stores should be fully stocked with Coca-Cola products by next week as the strike is over.

Teamsters Union members employed by Coca-Cola in B.C. ratified a new collective agreement on Thursday, ending a job action which began on July 24.

All members are expected to be back on the job by Monday.

Their 370 members who work in production, warehousing, trucking and merchandising at Coca-Cola facilities in Richmond, Chilliwack, Coquitlam and the Sunshine Coast, ratified the new agreement Thursday afternoon.

“Our members voted in support of the mediated settlement and are happy to be back on the job,” said Teamsters Local 213 Business Representative Jim Loyst in a press release issued Thursday afternoon.

“They were generally satisfied with the language we were able to achieve for both our pension and health and welfare benefits. it was important for our members to initiate this job action to protect their hard-earned benefits.”

The union met 17 times with the company and completed four days of intense mediation at the labour board, with no success. Agreement was finally reached late Tuesday night after a “marathon” session with mediator Vince Ready.

The company, too, announced the agreement in a media statement issued Friday.

“I’m pleased to share that Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada (CCR) reached a new agreement with Teamsters Local 213, the union representing hourly employees in our Lower Mainland facilities,” a spokesperson for the company said. “The agreement is fair and equitable for our associates and the company, and also supports the changing needs of our customers and our business.

“With this new agreement in place, we are working as quickly as possible to get back to our regular operations.”

Workers were on the picket line at the Chilliwack bottling plant and distribution centre on Yale Road West for more than two weeks.

Stores in some locations started to see shortages, and Safeway posted a sign to customers regarding the labour dispute.

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