Behind the Closed Doors at a Coca-Cola Anti-Union Meeting: Workers Push Back

by Stuart Elliott

In the vast majority of union organizing drives, the company calls mandatory meetings to deliver its anti-union message.  Increasingly, workers are standing up and sharing their experiences with the closed meetings. Recorded on July 9, 2014 in Atlanta, GA at the South Metro distribution center in College Park. Here Coca Cola’s Director of Labor Relations Brian LaVelle and his assistant force workers to attend a mandatory (mis)’information session’ about the Teamsters union. Listen when workers push back and demand to know how much the union busters get paid for running such meetings. Powerful audio here. Go behind closed doors at Coke’s anti-union meetings.

LaVelle describes union dues paid to the international union as a “kickback.”  LaVelle intimates that unions often fines members. One worker points out that the Teamsters Local 728 had no income from fines. Another asks what is LaVellle’s salary and he refuses. A worker says that no-one represents him and that he would like to have someone to represent him. Later a worker asks if Coca-Cola will bring down workers from the company’s unionized plants to talk to workers in Georgia. A worker says it seems like a majority of workers coming together will get more results than individuals pursuing complaints individually.  Other questions raise the point that the union doesn’t have equal access to talk to workers and wonder why Coke’s HR department doesn’t put as much effort into solving problems as it does in fighting the union.

It takes the HR people an extra 20 minutes to deal with the good questions from workers.

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