Union Members Strike at Coca Cola Warehouse - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Union Members Strike at Coca Cola Warehouse

VANCLEAVE (WLOX) -- Union member Shannon Trochesset has happily worked at the Jackson County Coca Cola warehouse for 37 years. He never dreamed he would have to fight for his pension. But for the past two days, he has been on strike against a proposal he believes would hurt his retirement.

"It's just not good, trying to cut out your pension fund now for some people who have been here 15 or 20 years already," Trochesset said. 

The controversy revolves around a new contract the company is offering its employees. It would increase wages, enhance 401K plans, and offer payments to help jump-start new retirement benefits. The employees' problem lies in the fact that their pensions would be frozen. Older employees fear they don't have time to build a new retirement fund.

"The older guys, some of them will be losing up to $500 to $700 a month in pension," union member Bobby Kovacevich said. 

"We all built this company, everybody's here working and building this company like that, and they want to come back and try and mess your retirement up," Trochesset said. 

Throughout south Mississippi and south Alabama, 237 union members are protesting. Nearly 40 of them are in Jackson County. 

Coke Consolidated officials say they are baffled as to why the union rejected their offer. They believe the new contract would benefit all employees.  

But Teamster is not backing down. Kovacevich thinks employees should have a say in how their retirement funds are handled.  

"It's our money. Let us worry about our future, not let them worry about it," Kovacevich said.

Strikers say they hope the issue is resolved soon, but they aren't going back to work without a suitable negotiation. 

By Sylvia Hall

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