In an overwhelming defeat for union organizers, employees of five area Coca-Cola bottling plants voted nearly 5 to 1 against representation by the Teamsters union.
The Brew and Beverage Drivers, Inside Workers, Vending Machine Servicemen and Helpers Local 67 of the Teamsters sought to represent 302 workers at the five local bottling plants. The election only concerned hourly inside workers, not drivers or salesmen.
Of 302 eligible voters, 301 took part in the election late Friday evening, with 236 voting against the union, and only 56 voting for Teamster representation. One ballot was voided by election officials, and eight were challenged.Neither action will affect the election results.
"This is a trubute to the progressive personnell policies of the Coca-Cola Co.," said Earl K. Shawe, labor counsel to Coca-Cola. "It is also a tribute to industrial democracy. The result speaks for itself."
Coca-Cola remains the only non-union bottling plant in the area.
Last Friday's loss by the Teamsters was the most recent setback for union organizers in their 28-year struggle to unionize certain Coca-Cola employees. oThe fight with the Teamsters dates back to 1953, when the union unsuccessfully struck. In 1958, the Teamsters lost a representation election.
"The vote was a complete rejection by Coca-Cola employees of representation by the Teamsters," concluded Shawe.