Tuesday, August 31, 2010

[olympiaworkers] RETURN TO WORK AT COKE

OWLS is an open, multiracial, multicultural group of labor activists
formed to forge solidarity across union lines, and to promote the
unionization of all workers, especially the lowest paid.

For more information: www.organizedworkers.org

From: OWLS@riseup.net
Date: Tue, August 31, 2010

Dear friend,

Thanks to all the OWLS activists who showed up on the picket line to
support Teamsters members on strike against COKE. The strike is over for
now, although the push for a fair contract is not. Below is a message
from Teamsters 117 from their website that offers more details.

Also, hope to see you at the King County Labor Day Picnic, Monday,
Sept. 6, Woodland Park, 12 noon. Directions to come. OWLS will have a
table and food, along with other unions and community groups, so come
down and celebrate and gear up for the battles ahead!

Teamsters thank community for support during strike

SEATTLE, WA -- 500 Western Washington Coke employees who went on
strike last Monday will return to work unconditionally in a gesture
that demonstrates their willingness to bargain a fair and equitable
contract in good faith. Negotiations between the Washington Teamsters
United and Coke are set to resume this Wednesday and Thursday,
September 1 and 2.

"Over the last week, we have demonstrated to Coke the value of our
professionalism and our labor," said Blaine Parks, a 32-year driver
for Coke's production and distribution facility in Bellevue. "We have
also sent a strong message to Coke that its employees expect the
company to take the collective bargaining process seriously."

Union representatives expect the 500 area Coke employees will resume
normal operations Tuesday morning to catch up with the backlog created
by last week's work stoppage.

"We are optimistic that Coke will return to negotiations prepared to
bargain in good faith," said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer
of Teamsters Local 117 and chief negotiator for Washington Teamsters
United. "Issues like the health care for Coke employees and retirees
are too important to our members and their families not to be
addressed in a straightforward and forthright manner."

The Union says it will continue to pursue the Unfair Labor Practice
charges it brought against Coke before the National Labor Relations
Board as well as the class-action ERISA lawsuit on behalf of Coke
employees who had their health care benefits revoked by the company
shortly after the work stoppage began last week.

Approximately 500 Coke employees in Western Washington went on strike
on Monday, August 23, over charges of employee surveillance,
intimidation and bad faith bargaining. Contract negotiations between
the Union and Coke have been underway since April. The employees'
contract expired on May 15, 2010.

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