Coca-Cola Strike Day 5
Five days later, the strike continues for Coca-Cola employees in Jackson County who say they are taking a stand against low wages and poor labor practices.
“We work very hard for our money and we deserve to be compensated for what we do.” Unfair low wages and poor working conditions at Coca-Cola United is what has prompted 271 employees in four of their plants to go on strike since last Thursday. Coca-Cola employee Bobby Kovacevich said, “There’s a lot of seniority and a lot of experience that’s on this side of the line that they really want working for them.”
According to some of the men on strike, the culture in their working environment changed after Coca-Cola United purchased the Ocean Springs plant from Coca-Cola Consolidated last October. Coca-Cola driver Eric Lease said,“This is obviously way over our supervisors. I think our guys actually care about us and we all want to work. This strike hurts everybody.”
Locally at Coca-Cola United in Ocean Springs, 31 employees have decided to take part in the strike. The men on the picket line have been alternating four hour shifts, 24 hours a day, rain or shine, since last Thursday. “But we are going to stand up for what we deserve and however long it takes, we will be out here.”
Currently, the local union Teamster 991 is actively working with the soft drink distributor to try and reach an agreement on the contract that will settle the strike. Since the strike began, Coca-Cola United in Ocean Springs has put up “now hiring” signs on their property as some of their long time employees stand right outside protesting for fair working conditions. “People are out here and everybody’s got bills and everybody’s got obligations and we need our paychecks, but we are going to hold off as long as we have to.”