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Strike against Coca-Cola distributor begin in Connecticut

Updated:
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)_ Workers the world's largest bottler of Coca-Cola Co. drinks went on strike Monday at bottling and distribution plants in Connecticut and California and threatened a larger walkout if a contract isn't reached soon.

About 350 workers set up picket lines at 6 a.m. a Coca-Cola Enterprises bottling and distribution center on Main Street in East Hartford. Another 1,750 were on strike at seven locations in the Los Angeles area, union officials said.

Chris Roos, the leader of Teamsters Local 1035, said the union has been in contract negotiations with the company since November. He said the sticking point is the company's insistence that workers pay for more of their health care costs.

Roos said the strike was planned for the week before Memorial Day to put pressure on Coca-Cola Enterprises during one of their biggest weeks of the year.

``Within a day or two, you probably won't see too much Coke on the shelves,'' he said.

Roos said the union plans to expand the strike into New York and Washington state in the coming days. He said the strike will move from the coasts toward the middle of the country until a contract is reached.

A message seeking comment was left with Coca-Cola Enterprises at its headquarters in Atlanta.
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