Hammond, Indiana Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. has notified all city and city-related entities that a city-wide boycott of Pepsi and Pepsi-related products will take place unless there is a resolution between Pepsi management and Teamsters Local 142, whose drivers are on strike against the Company. “We’ve been good to Pepsi. We do a lot of business with them, but I can’t in good conscience continue to be a customer if they aren’t using union drivers. If Pepsi management can’t resolve their differences with the union by Friday August 20th, Hammond will begin using Coke and we will terminate all of our Pepsi contracts.”
Pepsi and Teamsters Local 142 has been embroiled in a dispute for weeks over healthcare benefits. Mayor McDermott has visited with the strikers on the picket line and encouraged them to keep up the fight. “I invite other communities, corporations, and individuals to join me in sending Pepsi a message and letting them know that you won’t be their customer if they can’t resolve this labor dispute. This is about treating workers with the respect they deserve” said Mayor McDermott. “Hiring scab drivers and allowing trucks to go in and out across the picket line is just a further insult to the union workers. I have always stood by the right to organize and the right of workers to make just demands on management. I hope that Pepsi will see the light and sit down with the Teamsters and resolve this dispute.”
The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 142 in Gary, say worker-paid health insurance premiums are the reason for the stall in negotiations between the Teamsters and Pepsi. Tom Albano, a Pepsi transport driver and Teamsters member, stated that the union wants the premiums capped at the current $14 per week rate, while the company wants to raise the premiums to $81 per week by 2025.