Coca-Cola US Dunkin' Donuts deal breaks union contract, threatens jobs

Dunkin' Donuts announced a major deal with Coca-Cola on April 2, 2012. It would serve Coca-Cola products in more than 9,400 restaurants in the United States after ending its PepsiCo tie-up. The employees of Coca-Cola Refreshments (Coca-Cola's North American bottling operation) organized in the IUF affiliated Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU-UFCW) hoped that this would result in hiring more.  

However it didn't take much time to get the bad news that in practice all products would be shipped directly to the warehouse of Dunkin' Donuts meaning instead potential job cuts at CCR.

The members of RWDSU/UFCW New England region and the union are rightly furious about the consequences of the deal. Their anger is compounded by the fact that their signed contract commits the company to a period of 60 days' notice followed by at least 45 days for serious consultation and consideration with the union. It's obvious that all that was simply side-stepped by CCR.

Union representatives heard about the deal only when it went public on April 2. This was even more galling since they had been part of a team of IUF affiliates meeting at Coca-Cola's headquarters just four days before on March 29 where nothing was mentioned.

RWDSU/UFCW New England region is looking to organise informational pickets at Dunkin' Donuts restaurants to let its customers know that many workers lost their jobs because CCR didn't let their own employees deliver the product. The actions by the union might even lead to a boycott of Dunkin' Donuts products.

The IUF will rally support for the union. IUF general secretary Ron Oswald commented, "We cannot stand idly by and let a company simply ignore the conditions of a contract they have signed. Coca-Cola committed in writing to talk seriously to the union before making plans for any such a significant change. They unilaterally chose to dump that commitment. The IUF will do all it can to support our affiliate in this case. Our message to other members in the Coca-Cola system will be - if they can do it to these workers they can and surely will do it to you too! Contracts with workers and their unions should be as respected as contracts with donuts!"