Foremost Workers Go on Strike

Imagine working for a company for more than 10 years and relying on that job to support your family, pay for bills, and put food on the table. Then imagine getting a pay cut of almost $3 dollars every three years and have some of your benefits taken away. That’s what Foremost employees say they’re suffering from.

Pay cuts and losing work benefits.Foremost workers say they’ve been dealing with those issues for years and now they’re on strike because they say the company wants to pay them even less. 

Teamster Union representative Justin Muraki from Hawaii is on island and he says they’ve been trying to negotiate with the Foremost Coca Cola company for almost 3 months now, but they just won’t budge.

Muraki says, “We agreed with the company, they took away half of our benefits of vacation, sick leave, all have been cut in half. This group is willing to stay status quo with their wages for another three years. The company won’t budge. The company now says they want to cut our wages. They want to take it away and we can’t do it”

We talked with several strikers, among them was John Pereda. He tells us that it’s hard adjusting to a pay cut every three years. He says it’s a struggle to pay for bills and put money on the table. 

Pereda says, “We love this company. This is our bread and butter. That’s why we come to work every day to make sure the loads are prepared, get them out to the customer. We don’t expect to be here but we had no choice because we all decided we can’t take anymore cuts.”

Muraki says, “The company is telling us that financially they’ve been losing money for the last three years.”

However, CEO Marcos Fong says their company is thriving. 

He says, “Well there’s been some information put out there that is misleading. The company is doing fine but we did have some changes in the way we did business. Throughout the time we continued to work with them, for the most part, we’ve worked very well cooperatively. It’s unfortunate we’ve got to this point.”

But what happens if the company and the union do not come up with an agreement? 

Fong says, “I’m disappointed we couldn’t resolve the differences over the negotiating table as we have in the past. The workers feel they have the right to do this and this will help their cause. I prefer to have all our employees talk instead of take this type of action.”

Fong says despite the strike, Foremost made sure their products reached the customers.