Coca-Cola Plant to downsize in Okmulgee

By PATRICK FORD
Times Editor

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages announced this week that it will be closing the manufacturing operations at the Okmulgee facility.

However, the distribution facility will remain open, according to CCSWB spokesperson Ismael Arebalos.

There are currently 214 employees at the 188,400 sq. foot facility. The number of  those impacted will be 104. Employee terminations are expected to begin March 30.

In September 2017, Arca Continental, the second-largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America,  acquired from The Coca-Cola Company, through its subsidiary Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, 100 percent of the shares of Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which operates in the state of Oklahoma.

In a statement, the company said they are committed to investing in their business in Oklahoma along with providing the highest quality products and best customer service. Associates were informed that CCSWB  is designing a new operating model to support their growth strategy for the future.

“Beginning in March 2018, to bring greater efficiencies to our local operations, we are evolving the operating model for Oklahoma to resemble the rest of the Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages operations,  CCSWB’s integration of this new operating model into our existing organization requires changes to more effectively utilize our production capacity as well as a broader reorganization of other support functions in Oklahoma City. We are consolidating the Okmulgee manufacturing facility’s volume into our Oklahoma City manufacturing facility.  While we are closing the manufacturing operations in Okmulgee, our Okmulgee distribution center’s frontline salespeople, drivers and merchandisers are not impacted.”

The company said that the changes in the Oklahoma City and Okmulgee locations could result in approximately 246 job reductions. About half of those from Oklahoma City will be made through attrition, moving roles, and where necessary, job elimination.  

“While difficult, these changes are helping us create a faster, leaner and more agile organization to accelerate growth in the local marketplace,” Arebalos said.

In order to help those affected by the closing,  eligible employees will be given an opportunity to apply for current open jobs in the Oklahoma market and access job postings across CCSWB and other bottlers in the Coca-Cola system.  All impacted employees will have the opportunity to attend interviewing skills and resume writing workshops.  CCSWB will also partner with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission for assistance and will provide an employee assistance program as well as a severance package or relocation assistance.

“We remain committed to making a positive difference in our local communities where we live and work,” Arebalos said. “ We will continue to support organizations and community initiatives as we’ve done for decades.”

The Okmulgee facility was completed in 1980 and underwent a renovation in 2003. It sits on 22,700 acres on West 20th Street.

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