Union workers at the Pepsi bottling plant in Munster are on strike. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report drivers, merchandisers and other delivery personnel have rejected a final contract offer from the company.
The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 142 in Gary, say worker-paid health insurance premiums are the reason for the stall in negotiations between the Teamsters and Pepsi. Tom Albano, a Pepsi transport driver and Teamsters member, tells the publication the union wants the premiums capped at the current $14 per week rate, while the company wants to raise the premiums by $20 per week in each year of the contract, totaling $81 per week by 2025.
“We shouldn’t be paying for it in the first place. This is a multibillion-dollar company,” Albano told The Times. “And the raises the company is offering is not going to cover, or barely cover, what your increase is going to be in your health insurance.”
While the union drivers are going on strike, union production workers at the facility are reporting to work after agreeing to a new contract with Pepsi. While both groups are represented by the same union, they each have separate contracts with the company.
Teamsters Local 142 Vice President Harvey Jackson tells the publication they are organizing the picket line so production workers don’t have to cross in front of the picketing union drivers.
The Times says it did not receive responses to a request for comment from Pepsi.