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Strike averted for workers at American Bottling Plant in Ottumwa

Published: May. 11, 2020 at 5:31 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - New! Union workers at the American Bottling Company and their employer Keurig Dr. Pepper have come to a new contract agreement after

threats of a strike.

The two sides were able to come to a five-year agreement about health care coverage and other issues.

Originally, they were at odds over a proposal to change the employees current healthcare plan, but after speaking with a union representative KYOU TV found out

workers had voted on their contract proposal Thursday afternoon and all parties found common ground.

American Bottling distributes Hy-Vee brand sodas, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and other products in many Midwest states.

A contract fight over health insurance could have union workers from the American Bottling Company going on strike
A contract fight over health insurance could have union workers from the American Bottling Company going on strike(KDP)

Update (5/12/2020) KYOU reached out to the company to get a statement about the potential strike by its union workers.

Teamsters Local No. 238 is threatening a strike despite Keurig Dr Pepper making several proposals, including an offer that increases wages, doubles the Company’s 401k

match and retains the current healthcare plan until January 2022. At that time, under the latest offer, union employees would be covered by a comprehensive health

insurance plan in which more than 16,000 Keurig Dr Pepper employees are eligible to participate today. This plan includes an extensive network of doctors and

providers along with competitive employee premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and out of pocket maximums, plus Company contributions to a Health Savings

Account.

Regardless of the vote, our focus remains on prioritizing the health and safety of all employees, and we will continue to provide increased compensation to our frontline

employees who are producing and delivering essential product during the COVID-19 crisis. We are well prepared to continue our operations and meet the needs of our

customers and consumers in our communities.

Original story: Union workers at the American Bottling plant in Ottumwa could go on the picket lines on Wednesday.

In a press release, the union says it has issue with the company’s proposal to terminate it’s current healthcare plan in the next contract.

The union says the company is proposing switching employees from their current plan under United Healthcare of Iowa to a

company plan under Keurig Dr. Pepper with higher out of pocket expenses.

The workers voted down a five-year proposal from the company on April 29th. The union says it simply wants to maintain

current healthcare benefits during the

course of the next contract and is asking for a three-year deal. There are around 100 employees covered by the agreement.

Jesse Case, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 238, said the company has refused to give a proposal that doesn’t terminate the current healthcare plan for

employees.

“People can live without Dr. Pepper and 7 UP but people are dying during this pandemic. Workers at Dr. Pepper just want the peace of mind to know that their

insurance won’t change for the foreseeable future” Case said.

The union has given the company two extensions on the current agreement. The union contract expired April 1st and the current extension expires at 5:00 p.m. this

Wednesday.

American Bottling in Ottumwa distributes Dr. Pepper, 7 UP, A & W Root Beer, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sunkist, Hy-Vee brand soda and other products in several

Midwestern states.

Copyright 2020 KYOU. All rights reserved.

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