While the unprecedented global pandemic continues, your Union continues to negotiate with your Employer to reach a total tentative contract agreement worthy of our recommendation and your vote. Negotiations began the week of March 2nd when there had only been a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oregon. When negotiations resumed in late March we were forced to bargain remotely in order to comply with CDC guidelines and government action.
To date, both sides have reached tentative agreements to improve and clarify the current contract on many issues including health and safety, mileage pay for merchandisers, the grievance procedure, Union protections and job security, to name a few. All of our current efforts are now focused exclusively on wages, health care and pension. The negotiations reached an important phase the week of March 30th as both sides are far apart on health care.
Your Union negotiating committee made a strong effort to reach a total tentative agreement prior too contract expiration. However, discussions on health care remain a major sticking point in these negotiations. After your Employer presented the Union with a counter proposal on Monday, March 30th, your Union negotiating committee determined that the Union will not respond with a counter proposal until a meeting at the Union hall can take place with the full Swire membership present. That meeting will be scheduled and a meeting notice issued when government restrictions permit. The issues on health care in these negotiations are to important and require a meeting at your Union hall to protect your Union’s internal procedures and process and get your backing and input as we move forward. In the meantime, your Union is actively obtaining additional information to fully understand the Employer proposals on health care. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
What is the status of the current contract that was due to expire on March 31st and its status after March 31st? All of your union rights, representation and protections remain in place, including the terms and conditions of your Union contract. This is a protection afforded under labor law as negotiations continue beyond expiration until the bargaining parties agree on a new contract.
Teamsters Local 162 represents over 350 drivers, warehouse, service technicians, cooler movers and merchandising employees at Swire Coca Cola. Local 162 President Mark Davison and Business Agent Mike Mayo are heading the negotiations and we are joined by six Local 162 shop stewards from the Swire rank and file membership. We are proud of the work our members continue to do at Coca Cola and other Teamster represented trucking companies as all essential transportation industries continue to serve the public and keep the grocery stores stocked and commerce flowing. We will keep the membership informed as these negotiations continue to evolve.