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Coca-Cola Strike 2015: Union Workers Claim Management Intimidated Them With Baseball Bats

They're seeking better wages and benefits.

David McNew/Getty Images

Chicago-area workers at two different Coca-Cola plants are striking this morning. The Teamsters Local 727 union is protesting unfair labor practices, some of which are related to ongoing contract negotiations, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The workers' contract expired at midnight on Tuesday, and the parties have yet to be able to reach an agreement on a new one. The union is seeking better wages and benefits, and to address the issue of "mandatory overtime" that it says cuts into its workers personal lives. According to a statement posted to the union's website, the company "has bargained in bad faith, intimidated workers with baseball bats and threatened unionized employees with job loss in an effort to delay contract negotiations for months." (Per the Tribune, the union alleges that management would "[walk] the shop floor casually carrying baseball bats.")

A Coca-Cola spokesperson provided the following statement: "It is unfortunate that the union’s leadership abruptly left the discussion and chose not to continue to work toward an agreement. We were ready to work as long as it took to find a solution. The Union leadership chose misleading rhetoric and false attacks instead of finding common ground. We hope to reach a resolution in the near future and will continue to negotiate in good faith with the union leadership. We are prepared to continue production and deliver our quality products to our customers and consumers throughout the region."

Coca-Cola has suffered its fair share of bad headlines as of late: The company pulled an ad from its social media channels earlier this week following accusations that it was racist and offensive to indigenous Mexicans. Meanwhile, a shady anti-obesity group that the company funded has suddenly folded after it was revealed Coca-Cola was largely controlling its agenda.

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