CHICAGO, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Teamsters Local 727 member currently engaged in an unfair labor practice strike against the American Bottling Company was taken away by ambulance yesterday after a driver for HMD Trucking, Inc., a third-party vendor hired by the company, is alleged to have deliberately struck the man with his tractor-trailer truck.
While approaching the Northlake, Ill. distribution facility, picketers report the driver made a tight turn and did not slow down despite pedestrians nearby. When the 37-year Dr Pepper employee attempted to move out of the path of the massive truck, he was struck. While fellow Teamsters rushed to their hurt brother and dialed 911, the driver stepped out of the truck and allegedly threatened violence against the peaceful picketers and claimed he would "come back with a gun."
Police and paramedics arrived at the scene and rushed the injured man to the hospital. He is currently being treated for a head wound.
Northlake police officers and private security guards hired by the American Bottling Company, a subsidiary of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (NYSE: DPSG) which is set to merge with Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. next month, informed union representatives that the driver was at fault. After issuing a ticket, the Northlake police officers released the driver.
Rather than expressing concern for the safety of their employees and the public following the assault and driver's threats, it is the union's understanding that Dr Pepper allowed the driver to continue into the facility to make his delivery.
"Dr Pepper's response to this horrific incident is disgraceful and makes it clear that the company puts their bottom-line above all else—above safety, above compassion, above decency," said John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. "Dr Pepper clearly cares more about getting their deliveries than it does their employees."
Yesterday's event was the third incident in less than a week in which Dr Pepper employees or vendors allegedly assaulted, threatened, and harassed union members exercising their constitutionally protected First Amendment rights by participating in a ULP strike.
On June 14, a long-term Dr Pepper employee and regional market manager reportedly used explicit language to threaten sexual assault against a female Union representative, her mother and her sister. To date, Local 727 has not been made aware of any changes by the company to remedy the situation.
The following day, June 15, a Dr Pepper employee in a leadership position proceeded to make nearly 40 calls in the middle of the night over a span of just three hours to a union representative she was fully aware was not on the strike line at that time.
"The escalation of this harassment and these threats to the point of assault cannot be overlooked," said Coli. "Dr Pepper and its future partners at Keurig have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of their members. Such behavior is unacceptable and must cease immediately."
Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Chicago area.
PRESS AVAILABILITY at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, 401 N. Railroad Ave. in Northlake.
SOURCE Teamsters Local 727