OTTUMWA, Iowa, May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Union Officials say workers at the American Bottling plant in Ottumwa, Iowa are planning to strike at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 if the company doesn't back off its proposal to terminate the employees' current healthcare plan in the next contract. The company is proposing switching employees from their current plan under United Healthcare of Iowa to a company plan under Keurig Dr. Pepper with higher out-of-pocket expenses.
Jesse Case, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 238, said the company has refused to give a proposal that doesn't terminate the current healthcare plan for employees.
"People can live without Dr. Pepper and 7-UP, but people are dying during this pandemic. Workers at Dr. Pepper just want the peace of mind to know that their insurance won't change for the foreseeable future," Case said.
The union has given the company two extensions on the current agreement. The union contract expired April 1, 2020 and the current extension expires at 5 p.m. this Wednesday.
American Bottling in Ottumwa distributes Dr. Pepper, 7-UP, A & W Root Beer, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sunkist, Hy Vee brand soda and other products in several midwestern states.
The workers, who voted down a five-year proposal from the company on April 29, 2020, simply want to maintain current healthcare benefits during the course of the next contract and are asking for a three-year deal. There are approximately 100 employees covered by the agreement.