BELLEVUE, Wash. – Striking Coca-Cola workers across Western Washington say the company ended their health care benefits days after they walked off the job.
500 Coke employees across hit the picket lines Monday. Three days later, strikers say the company terminated the benefits. The workers claim they already paid for this month's coverage.
"It's heartbreaking," says striking worker and first time father Luke Vaule. He and his wife just had a baby girl who was born prematurely. "It puts a little stress on our marriage. But I know my wife ... It's just really hard on all of us."
The Teamsters union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board regarding the terminated health benefits.
"It's clearly a retaliatory effort on the part of the employer," said Teamster 174 spokesman Tim Allen.
Coke spokesman Bob Phillips says the union is putting out misinformation. Coke says the company is not punishing it's employees and the striking workers' premiums will not be deducted from their last paycheck.
The major sticking point in the negotiations has been over employee and retiree health care. Both sides are heading back to the bargaining table next week.