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Teamsters Union plans to strike after American Bottling plant announces insurance cuts


Teamsters Union officials say workers at the American Bottling plant in Ottumwa are planning to strike at 5 p.m. on Wednesday if the company continues with a proposal to terminate employees’ current health care 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, union officials said in a statement. American Bottling distributes Dr Pepper, 7-Up, Hy-Vee brand soda and other products in several Midwestern states. About 100 employees are covered by the contract between the union and American Bottling.

Keurig Dr Pepper provided the following statement on May 13:

Teamsters Local No. 238 is threatening a strike despite Keurig Dr Pepper making several proposals, including an offer that increases wages, doubles the Company’s 401k match and retains the current healthcare plan until January 2022. At that time, under the latest offer, union employees would be covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan in which more than 16,000 Keurig Dr Pepper employees are eligible to participate today. This plan includes an extensive network of doctors and providers along with competitive employee premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and out of pocket maximums, plus Company contributions to a Health Savings Account.

Regardless of the vote, our focus remains on prioritizing the health and safety of all employees, and we will continue to provide increased compensation to our frontline employees who are producing and delivering essential product during the COVID-19 crisis. We are well prepared to continue our operations and meet the needs of our customers and consumers in our communities.

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