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PepsiCo workers reject contract offer

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 10:52 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Local 175 Teamsters unanimously voted down a first contract offer from Pepsi Beverages Co. that its leaders said would strip Huntington workers of longstanding benefits.

Workers at the Pepsi Bottling Group in Huntington rejected the contract in a vote of 39 to zero last week, and Ralph Winters, secretary-treasurer for Local 175, said the contract offered by PepsiCo would cut nearly $2,000 in benefits that employees at the facility currently receive.

Teamsters Local 175 represents members at three additional West Virginia Pepsi facilities in addition to Huntington's warehouse workers, bulk drivers, merchandisers and customer service representatives, Winters said.

"Every one of those contracts protects workers' retirement benefits. Huntington workers deserve the same. All we're asking is a fair and reasonable agreement like those we have everywhere else."

Gina Anderson, director of media relations for PepsiCo North America Beverages, said the contract offered to the Huntington employees was in line with contract arrangements at other PepsiCo facilities.

"The offer we've made is consistent with other Teamster arrangements across the country, and similar provisions exist in our labor agreements in Charleston, Fairmont and Logan where Local 175 represents employees," said Anderson. "Those three locations prioritized a restricted work week over enhanced retirement benefits, and our Huntington employees have the opportunity to do the same."

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