Video and Report: Workers on strike at Coca-Cola Saskatoon, Canada

More than 50 members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) who work at Coca-Cola's warehouse and distribution facility in Saskatoon, Canada, went on strike June 9 in protection of their job security.

According to union staff representative Rocky Luchsinger, they have been without a contract since December 2008, and there was no satisfying result in the negotiations after nine bargaining sessions.

Coca-Cola wants to remove from the workers' collective agreement a certain clause, Article 21, that prevents the company from hiring third-party delivery drivers. If the company is allowed to remove Article 21, Luchsinger said, at least half of the 25 drivers who work at the facility, all of whom are RWDSU members, could lose their jobs.
"Right now it's a non-contracting-out clause which prevents them from going to third-party delivery, or at least slows them down in the process, and they've offered us watered-down versions where we would allow third-party delivery. Of course, that's what we're trying to protect," he said Wednesday. He further added that the wage increases offered by the company were also insufficient. 

Of the 82 employees at the facility, 57 are union members, of which 53 took part in last week's vote. Now, the striking workers are picketing outside the Coca-Cola facility. They are asking passing motorists to honk and are offering cans of Pepsi products for $1 donations to their strike fund.

Luchsinger said the union is digging in its heels and is prepared for a long strike. He said he hopes Saskatonians support the RWDSU's cause by drinking soda not made under the Coca-Cola brand. 

The Canadian Soft Drinks Workers Council is also supporting the strikers and expressed its solidarity in a letter by Kevin LeBlanc, its chairperson. 

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