Workers vote against joining union at Coca-Cola in Fort Worth

Posted Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH - Coca-Cola employees, by vote of 215 to 191, rejected a bid to make their North Texas bottling plant the first corporate-owned unit in the South with a union, a Teamsters organizer said today.

In a statement, Coke called the defeat over Teamsters representation "a vote of confidence in our local management team who remain committed to working hard with all of their employees to ensure they merit the trust and confidence placed in them."

Teamsters organizer Chris Rosell said union supporters, making their second organizing attempt at the north Fort Worth facility in less than two years, were outspent by Coke management, which held a series of mandatory meetings with employees which were held on company time. Last June, the supporters called off an election on the belief that they hadn't reached enough of the workers, he said.

At the last company meeting this week, officials announced that a popular supervisor had been promoted to head a work section, which was greeted roundly with applause, according to a recording of the event made available to the Star-Telegram.

"We strive to maintain and enhance our direct relationship with our employees and while we respect our employees' right to choose whether or not to be represented by a union, we are pleased and grateful that employees decided to reaffirm their direct working relationship with the company," Coke's statement said.

"Barring any objections by the union, we expect the National Labor Relations Board will certify these results within 7 to 10 days. We hope the union will respect the employees' decision."

The union is considering filing complaints about possible worker intimidation with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the election, Rosell said. The Teamsters organizer provided no details.

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718

Twitter: @bshlachter

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