Striking Coke union workers return to the Ocean Springs plant without a contract

The last time Coca-cola workers with Teamsters 991 went on strike was 2008, as shown in this photo.
The last time Coca-cola workers with Teamsters 991 went on strike was 2008, as shown in this photo.

Coca-Cola United out of Birmingham has announced that union workers — including workers at the Jackson County plant north of Interstate 10 — would be returning to work Monday without a contract.

In a statement, released early Monday, the company said it was informed late Sunday by the Teamsters that the union associates would return.

“Our Coca-Cola United team worked into the night (Sunday) and early morning hours to reactivate these associates,” the statement said.

“Negotiations through the mediator continue, and it is our hope to come to an agreement with the Teamsters as soon as possible.

“We will continue to provide our customers and communities with the highest levels of product delivery and service.

A comment from the Teamsters 991 was not immediately available.

The strike affected the plant, which is just outside Ocean Springs, and facilities in Alabama. The union in Ocean Springs includes about 45 employees.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, headquartered in Birmingham, is the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. It employs 10,000 in more than 60 facilities across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The Gulfport plant, although owned by the same company, is not part of the strike.

When workers with Coca-Cola United in Jackson County went on strike Aug. 9, the company said it had a plan to keep the facilities open during negotiations.

At that time, Teamsters 991 and Coca-Cola United were in negotiations on a new labor contract, but were unable to come to an agreement, according to a press release from the company.

The last time the union was on strike was July 2008.

Karen Nelson can be reached at 228-896-2310 or @NelsonNews_atSH