Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pepsi Strike

If you are looking for an organization that consistently stands by it's long-term principles, you'd have to go a long ways to top the union movement.

I remember the racket that followed the closure of the local Coca-Cola bottling plant back in the early 90's. What a catastrophe, said the local labour mavens. It was such a milestone event that the unions insisted that we boycott all Coke products (and MacDonald's too, as I recall, because they sell only Coke products) for the company's temerity to import Coke into the province instead of producing it locally.

To this day their products are still manufactured on the mainland and then shipped into this province. *

Fast-forward to today. Browning-Harvey is on strike. Wages and benefits are key issues and the union is deeply concerned about technological changes that Browning Harvey intends to implement. Now the company has ceased producing Pepsi products and they have resorted to importing them from outside the province.

So what PR campaign does Carol Furlong, President of NAPE undertake? Push harder and let's all boycott Pepsi products.

But if Coke can import their products into the province and still keep the price low enough to win major local contracts, I would have thought it wise for Carol and her cohorts not to push the company to the wall. Otherwise, NAPE members will be drinking a lot of tapwater from now on.

Or does that mean the Coke boycott is officially rescinded? Please let me know at the usual email address prior to my next grocery day.


*This slight was compounded in 1996 when Chartwells, the catering service supplying the cafeterias and vending machines on MUN campus signed an exclusivity deal with Coca-Cola. In retaliation, the local Pepsi bottler, Browning-Harvey stirred a PR tempest that saw them withdraw their representatives to MUN business school advisory committees and pull their money from a series of scholarships.

Those with an historical bent and too much time on their hands will find a letter to the editor by your truly published in the Telegram at the time. There I argued that if these kind of petulant reactions were best response that Browning-Harvey could come up with to legitimately losing out on a business contract, then they had nothing to teach the next generation of business people.

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