BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — On Saturday, July 17, 2021, members of the Teamster Local 175 union employed by Coca Cola Consolidated in Bluefield, WV, voted to reject the company’s final offer of a new contract and authorized a strike.

According to a press release, the contract expires on July 28, 2021. The company is reportedly proposing increases to the amount that employees pay for their health insurance plan, less wage increases for hourly employees and less commission, compared to other employees at different West Virginia locations.

During negotiations, the company claimed that it has been negatively affected by COVID-19, according to the Teamster Locaal 175 union.

“There is no justification whatsoever to pay these employees, who perform the exact same work as employees in other parts of the state, substantially less while trying to require them to pay considerably more for their benefits,” said Ken Hall, President of Teamsters Local 175.

Bluefield employees went on strike during the las negotiations in 2018. In addition to Coke and Diet Coke, they distribute hundreds of other packages including Monster Energy, Dasani and Powerade.