PepsiCo has urged its U.S. bottlers to prepare for a possible strike by its striking members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. The conglomerate’s executive committee announced in a memo that the move was prompted by a “determination by the union’s leadership to legally prohibit our employees from taking protected lunch breaks and to engage in work stoppages” that would cover a workforce of roughly 200,000, Reuters reports.
In recent weeks, PepsiCo reportedly has been offering to concede concessions in the months-long pay dispute. The union has thus far denied the offer, but, as Reuters points out, the beverage company will have limited options if it wants to avoid a full-blown showdown.
“The company’s move is completely unnecessary,” said Michael Hooper, a striker and 13-year veteran who is currently taking a lunch break in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. “There’s no reason to worry. We’re going to hold our ground.”