MARYSVILLE — Striking Coca Cola workers are back at the bargaining table today, but that won’t save the company’s Marysville plant.
Bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. will close its sales and distribution centers in Marysville, Aberdeen, and Bellingham on Sept. 17, officials said.
Spokesman Bob Phillips said the move is a realignment of workers and won’t cut jobs. There are 53 employees in Marysville.
“We’ve offered employment to all of our union employees and we may be adding a few more at the remaining facilities,” he said.
Coca-Cola Enterprises has others facilities in Bellevue, Bremerton, Tacoma, Fife, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Spokane, and Omak.
Phillips said the company began re-evaluating its network several years ago when the City of Marysville offered to buy its Marysville center. The city did buy the property and the company has been leasing it back on a short-term basis.
“We explored several options that included construction of a new facility,” Phillips said. “With the current economic conditions and the cost of rebuilding, we also looked at realigning the territory in Washington state.”
He said that’s what the company chose to do to “take full advantage of our current properties.”
Coca-Cola Enterprises union workers went on strike Aug. 23, saying among the issues was a proposed significant increase in health care premium costs.
The company canceled health insurance for the strikers, which helped them decide to return to work on Tuesday.
Phillips said negotiations began today and are scheduled again for Thursday.
“We were pleased they returned to work and we’re glad to have them back at the bargaining table,” he added.