Just a week after Teamsters President James P. Hoffa was criticized in a federal hearing
for allowing violence in the union's strike against Overnite Transportation, violence at two other Teamsters hot spots has been in the news.
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Charleston, WV, yesterday challenged the union to match the company's $50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those involved in the shooting of three Coca-Cola delivery trucks on a public highway last week.
No one was hurt in the incidents, which are the latest damage to company property since the 38 Teamster members who work at the company's Huntington warehouse walked off the job March 14.
"The pattern of intimidation, vandalism and threats of violence is continuing," said company spokesman Lauren Steele. "The Teamsters say they renounce violence; today we are calling on them to show it by matching our $50,000 reward." The company has also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Meanwhile, in Springfield, MO, an independent driver making deliveries for Associated Wholesale Grocers was pulled from his truck and beaten, and police are investigating whether it is related to the company's lockout of union warehouse workers and truck drivers. A security guard who was traveling with the driver told officials that the two assailants shouted anti-AWG slurs as they beat the driver with aluminum bats and pipes.
Several truck drivers leaving an AWG warehouse in Springfield Monday were met with human roadblocks and thrown rocks. According to published reports, more than 20 reports of incidents, ranging from property destruction to common assault, have been filed by Springfield police since the Teamsters started picketing Sunday morning. The company locked the union workers out of its warehouses in Springfield and Kansas City, KS, after their contracts expired. The company is continuing to operate with outside contract labor.
Teamsters officials in both areas stress that they do not condone the alleged violence.