Dr Pepper Factory Unionizes

Employees were allegedly enduring 12-hour work days, seven days a week.

Workers at a Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. factory in Victorville, Calif., voted by a slim margin to unionize under the Teamsters, the Victorville Daily Press reported

The final vote, certified by the National Labor Relations Board, showed a tally of 129-112 in favor of the 266 workers at the Victorville factory joining Teamsters Local 896. 

Eight years have passed since the factory tried to unionize workers. In 2013, a few years after the factory opened as a Dr Pepper/Seven Up site, an effort to unionize ultimately proved ineffective. 

A successful vote took place, but a dispute arose between the Teamsters and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) over who would represent the employees.

Talks with the Teamsters eventually resumed in 2019, according to Phil Cooper, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 896. A material handler, Adan Soto, reached out to Cooper, and the two met just before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

According to Soto, employees were enduring 12-hour work days, seven days a week. They also faced punishment for violating policy changes they had not realized were implemented. 

But there is more work to be done. Once a date is selected for negotiations, each department in the Victorville factory will inform the Teamsters who they choose for negotiations. 

Cooper’s local already represents two other Keurig Dr Pepper production facilities in the region, and a separate local covers a facility in Orange, California. Cooper added that an unfavorable contract that fails to get approved could result in a strike. 

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