Union Claims Pepsi Success vs. Kaiser Aluminum

“The United Steelworkers of America has announced that Pepsi Bottling Group reportedly will discontinue purchasing “can sheet” product from Kaiser Aluminum after the company’s current commitments reportedly expire on December 31.As a result, David Foster, USWA District 11 Director, announced the end of a union-organized international consumer boycott of Pepsi Products packaged in Kaiser Aluminum metal. “This is a major victory for the locked-out Kaiser Aluminum Steelworkers,” said USWA International President George Becker. “We are now prepared to move on to other customers of Kaiser Aluminum. We will not back down until Kaiser Aluminum either ends the lockout or the company backs down from their onerous contract demands and we agree on a fair contract.”Steelworkers began a consumer boycott of Pepsi products packaged in metal produced by temporary replacement, or scab, workers earlier this year following Kaiser Aluminum’s lockout of 2,900 Steelworkers nationwide in January.The union said their boycott campaign included phoning, leafleting, postcards, bumper stickers and other consumer-oriented efforts. Hundreds of thousands of flyers were distributed, according to the union, with over 200,000 postcards and tens of thousands of phone calls reportedly made to Pepsi headquarters.The USWA said their campaign reached over 20 states, the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, and included flyers printed in English, Spanish and French. The union reported that in a letter written on October 1, 1999 to Foster, Pepsi Bottling Group’s Director of Public Relations, Larry Jabbonsky, stated: “In actuality, PBG does not have a signed supply agreement with Kaiser. This letter confirms that our current commitments do not extend beyond the end of this year, and we will not be buying can sheet from Kaiser in 2000.”The Kaiser-USWA labor dispute began as a strike on September 30, 1998. After the USWA made an offer to return to work, Kaiser Aluminum locked out the Steelworkers on January 14, 1999.The USWA represents 2,900 Kaiser Steelworkers in Tacoma and Spokane, as well as in plants nationwide.”