[caption id="attachment_1326" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Coca Cola (NYSE:KO)"]
A class action lawsuit was recently filed against Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) which alleges that Coca Cola violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal law that sets minimum standards for health plans in private industry to protect individuals covered under these plans. Coca Cola allegedly cancelled the health care plans of around 500 of its workers in Western Washington, after they went on strike over allegations of employee surveillance, intimidation and bad faith bargaining.
Bill Mauhl, a Coca Cola employee who was directly affected by the decision to cancel the health care plans of striking workers commented on the decision: "My wife had a kidney transplant two years ago. When Coke cancelled our health care, they cut off her anti-rejection medication. This shows me that Coke doesn't care about its employees."
Dmitri Iglitzin, an attorney at the Seattle based law firm Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt, commented on the decision made by Coca Cola to cancel the health care plans of striking workers: "In my almost twenty years of representing workers and unions in labor disputes, it's hard to think of any past instance where I have seen an employer retaliate against its striking workers in a manner as egregious as what the Coca-Cola Bottling Company has done here. Cutting off the medical benefits to more than 500 workers, knowing that many of them rely on those benefits on a day-to-day basis and will be irreparably harmed if they lose those benefits is a brutal, full-scale attack by Coke on its own workers."