Power Breakfast: Job picture cloudy in Coke-CCE merger, MARTA, Georgia nukes, unsafe mortgages

It’s a hot topic at Coca-Cola and its biggest bottler these days, writes AJC reporter Jeremiah McWilliams.

When the dust settles, who will have a job, and where?

With Coke planning to merge its North American business with that of bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises soon, talk of coming shake-ups — either jobs moving or being eliminated — has floated around the Coke tower on North Avenue and bottling plants in the Atlanta suburbs, McWilliams reports.

Coke has said the deal will generate annual cost savings of about $280 million over four years, concentrated in manufacturing, information technology and infrastructure including real estate. The company has not said how much of those savings will be in the form of job cuts, McWilliams writes.

The deal awaits only approval by CCE shareholders — expected to be granted at a special meeting Oct. 1 — and an okay from the Federal Trade Commission and Canadian regulators.

Tom Pirko, president of California consulting firm Bevmark, told McWilliams he does not believe Coke executives have decided how many jobs will be eliminated. But “if you take those two words — streamline and cut costs — that means fire employees,” he said.

“Everybody is really up in the air,” said Nelson Calderon, an eight-year employee of Coca-Cola Enterprises . “Nobody feels safe over there. The company has not sat down with us to explain how things are going to come down. That creates anxiety. Everybody is walking around not knowing what to expect.”

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2 comments Add your comment

shadow 7071

September 27th, 2010
8:11 am

I have empathy for the employees at both KO and CCE.

It was ten years ago that KO was making the decision to layoff over six thousand employees. The only reason was to boost the stock price. Nothing more. Since the untimely death of Roberto Goizueta KO’s stock price had languished and nothing seemed to help get it out of the quagmire. So, KO’s board decided to replace Doug Ivester with Doug Daft and Daft was more than willing to implement Jack Stahl’s Enterprise Plan to reduce/eliminate HQ’s staff to make the Company operate more efficiently. (But, his real reason was to boost the stock price.)

Daft came on board at the end of 2000 and in January 2001 he made the announcement that significant layoffs were coming. And they did. Over 6000 employees were terminated. It was a blood bath that continued through 2004. And the stock price never soared. In fact, it dropped like a rock and has really never recovered.

Moreover, KO the company has never recovered. With that “restructuring” KO lost its experience, brain trust, and the unwavering support and loyalty of employees and community. With that decision KO went from being a “special’ product, business and company to being just another American corporation. It lost its mystique.

Now they are doing it again.


September 27th, 2010
3:45 pm

Woe is me. Welcome to Wall Street, where money never sleeps and neither do the corporate goons. Most will get huge severance packages that will cushion their fall and reduce the benefit to the company. The products are what need restructuring. The world needs true nutrition, not sugary drinks. How about a real “New Coke?”