the meeting made available to the Star-Telegram. Ford said one supervisor's
car had its windshield smashed and another's vehicle was keyed.
Ford also warned that free ice cream would be stopped if someone again pulled the plug on the freezer, melting 15 cases.
More serious were plant disruptions involving equipment being hidden and forklifts parked to block other forklifts.
"We don't need that," Ford said, according to the recording.
Rosell denied that union supporters were behind the vandalism. "They blame us but the place is crawling with security."
At the mandatory meetings, Crossroads consultants caution workers against believing that having a union would automatically bring higher wages. Pay could go up, remain the same or possibly even decline, they said, according to the recording. And even if wages went down, workers still would have to fork over union dues, they were told.
One consultant, Mike Penn, called "misleading propaganda" a union flyer that purported to show that hourly wages were $2.45 to $8 higher on average at unionized Coke plants.
Those plants are in high-cost states, Penn argued. And he cited a Coke worker transferred to Atlanta from New York where $3 less an hour gets him a comfortable home instead of a cramped apartment.
But wages at the Fort Worth plant still are generally lower than those paid in the only unionized Coke plant in the South, which is owned by Coca-Cola United, an independent bottler based in Birmingham, Ala., where the cost of living is similar to that in North Texas.
In Fort Worth, the Teamsters say a diesel truck mechanic earns $20 an hour. At the Alabama plant, a mechanic gets almost 14 percent more -- $22.74 -- and next July it goes up to $23.37, according to the most recent contract obtained by the Star-Telegram.
The lowest-paid warehouse worker in Fort Worth gets $12.50 an hour; in Birmingham, the lowest hourly wage is $17.96, and will rise to $18.45.
Former union star
At the plant meeting, a polished Crossroads partner named Steve Beyer told workers he had personally negotiated contracts for Coke at union plants a number of times.
And who, he asked, does the Teamsters have at the bargaining table? "Just someone from the union hall."
Actually, the well-spoken Beyer was himself once that guy from the union hall.
He was a rising star at Local 681 of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union near Anaheim, Calif., where he negotiated contracts with numerous Orange County hotels, including Disney properties, and became president at 36.
But things fell apart when he fired a 42-year-old woman organizer who had been raped on the job at gunpoint and was taking too long to return to work, according to lengthy stories in The Los Angeles Times.
Beyer declined to speak with the Star-Telegram, Coke said.
At the time, however, Beyer was quoted as saying that firing the rape victim was the hardest decision he had ever made, but that he had been pressured by other women organizers who complained of a heavier workload caused by their co-worker's recovery.
The union was cited by state authorities for not having a rape prevention program and Beyer, who narrowly lost his re-election bid to a woman organizer in June 1992, soon became a labor consultant for Disney and other large employers he had once opposed.
Outside the Fort Worth plant, Coke employee Uribe proudly sported pro-union buttons on his uniform and said workers like him no longer bought into what he considered superficial improvements of the past year.
"There's no remote for the TV," joked Uribe, a 43-year-old forklift driver.
Then he looked out of his car window and said: "We don't want TVs. We want better pay. We want respect. We want our voices heard."
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