May 26, 2005 – With less than a week to go before the Memorial Day weekend, more than 2,000 Coke bottling workers have gone on strike.
According to the Associated Press, production workers and delivery drivers at Coca-Cola Enterprises bottling plants in California and Connecticut walked out after contract negotiations broke down.
Workers are striking to avert an increase in the cost of health benefits. Union leaders said the employees were particularly upset over what they called "lavish" health benefits for company executives.
The union actions were timed to put pressure on the company to negotiate in order to avoid a drop in sales going into the unofficial start of the summer soft drink season, one official explained.
A company spokesperson expressed dismay at the strike, telling the AP company officials were not even aware of the reason employees were upset.
Coca-Cola Enterprises, which is separate from the Coca-Cola Company, produces 80 percent of Coke bottles and cans in North America.