Pepsi Shuts Down Soda-Bottling Operation in Cheektowaga, N.Y.

Copyright (C) 2003 KRTBN Knight Ridder Tribune Business News

Oct. 3–Western New York is losing some of its fizz.

Pepsi Bottling Group ceased its soft-drink bottling operation in Cheektowaga this week, a spokesman confirmed.

The plant’s single production line, filling two-liter containers, topped off its last bottle Wednesday, company spokesman Michael Goodwin said.

However, the 21 bottling workers remain on the job in other parts of the plant while their union bargains the terms of their separation. Production workers are represented by the United Steelworkers of America Local 14613.

“We expect the positions to be eliminated voluntarily,” Goodwin said, adding that an incentive could be offered.

William Pienta, sub-district director of the Steelworkers, said the contract requires the company to negotiate any job cuts.

Pepsi Bottling Group, a Fortune 500 company based in Westchester County, agreed to buy the local operation a year ago from the Pastor family, longtime owners of the Pepsi-Cola Buffalo Bottling Corp.

Actual bottling makes up a small portion of the 222-job plant’s activity, with a single production line that didn’t run every day, Goodwin said. The site also performs sales, distribution and warehouse tasks, plus maintenance of soda fountains and vending machines. The center distributes Pepsi products to Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties, plus parts of neighboring counties.

With a territory covering 44 states, Pepsi Bottling Group distributes Mountain Dew, Lipton Brisk as well as Pepsi-brand soft drinks.

By Fred O. Williams, The Buffalo News, N.Y.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

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