Hot Goods – Coca Cola Strike
What are “hot goods”? Hot goods are products or services identified by an employer during the term of the labour dispute.
In this case, workers at Coke Canada facilities in B.C., including in Richmond, Coquitlam, and Chilliwack, are on strike. Members of Teamsters Local 213 have walked off the job, citing wage concerns.
While these facilities are in essence ‘shut down’ Coke Canada is executing their contingency plans and having product shipped from other facilities in Canada.
In this context, Coke products are referred to as “hot goods.” Hot declarations are used to exercise economic leverage on an employer during a strike or lockout by dissuading other unionized workers from dealing with the products or services from that employer.
With the labour dispute ongoing, Coke products are still being trucked into the Loblaws Marine Drive Distribution facilities from Alberta where there is no dispute. The product is then picked and distributed to various stores in BC.
As some longer-term members may recall, our members used to receive and stock Coke products on the shelves when Superstores first opened as Westfair Foods Ltd. and started expanding. At some point in the late 90’s and early 2000, Westfair Foods Ltd. introduced vendor stocking into it’s stores to save on labour costs.
With the ongoing labour dispute, vendors are not stocking these products and the store is now directing our grocery members to put stock out.
Our Loblaw Superstore and Distribution Centre Collective agreement does not contain “hot goods” language which allows our members to refuse to cross a picket line or refuse to handle the product.
Unfortunately, this means that we must continue to handle the product as normal. We are required to treat the product like any other product as we do not have the collective agreement right to refuse to handle it.
The Teamsters may choose to leaflet the retail outlets to dissuade customers from purchasing Coke products but that is for informational purposes and not considered to be a picket line.
Currently, we stand in Solidarity with the Teamsters, and we encourage our members and the community to boycott Coke products until the end of their dispute.