There has been a lot going on in the city to keep any good blogger busy these days, but I wanted to write to you in the hopes that you might give a shout out to the Teamsters Local #727 Coca-Cola workers.
The Coca-Cola distribution factory is right down the block from my house in Alsip and I noticed the striking workers about seven days ago as I turned the corner to head out for school, giving them a long honk of support each day I drive by.
Today, I decided to stop and talk to them. I met some really great people who are trying to make ends meet and to take care of their families in the hopes that the will be back to work in time to have a good Christmas.
I spoke to Mr. Tom Bonnik, a driver for Coca-Cola, who explained to me that the strike affects about 300 workers in the distribution factories in both Alsip and Niles. Most of them work either inside of the factories or are local drivers who transport product between Alsip and Niles daily. They are paid between twelve and eighteen dollars an hour.
Mr. Bonnik explained to me that it has been nearly impossible to settle because the local factory managers have no authority to negotiate final decisions on terms of the contract proposals without approval from the Atlanta, Ga corporate management and a federal mediator has recently been called in to improve communication.
When I asked one striking worker what will happen if a deal can’t be reached by Christmas, she said they would be on the picket line on Christmas Day if that’s what it took.
I’ve attached a photo that the workers allowed me to take. I got the feeling that, more than anything, they were just extremely grateful of my support. And don’t we know that feeling.