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PepsiCo Offer Nixed by Striking Workers at O.C., 3 Other Plants


BUENA PARK — Striking PepsiCo Inc. workers at bottling plants in Buena Park and three other Southern California cities rejected the company's offer Friday in their first vote since walking out six weeks ago, Teamsters Union officials said.

The striking drivers, warehouse loaders and bottlers overwhelmingly rejected the company's proposal, officials said, but they would not disclose specific results. Hundreds of workers have been on strike since June 21. Other plants affected by the strike are in Torrance, Baldwin Park and San Fernando.

No new talks have been scheduled, company and union officials said.

"We are very far apart in negotiations," said Michael Patton, benefit specialist for Teamsters Local 952, which represents workers at the Buena Park facility.

The union is seeking a contract that would allow workers to retire after their age and total years of service with the company reach 84 years. PepsiCo says the demands are unreasonable.

"This is a business," said Jeff Brown, a spokesman for PepsiCo. "We can't give them extraordinarily high salaries and have them expect to retire early."

He said union members in other states have such a retirement plan but receive lower salaries than PepsiCo workers in Southern California.

Teamsters leaders from California, Oregon and Washington are meeting in Oakland today to discuss whether to expand the strike to bottling plants along the entire West Coast, according to Eric Smith, a staff director for Teamsters Local 174 in Seattle.

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