Meet Victor Borras – A Victim of Coca-Cola’s Discriminatory Employment Practices
Name: Victor Borras
Year Born: 1971
Marital Status: Married with one son
Years of Service: 12 ½ years at Coca-Cola
Location of Facility: Elmsford Production Plant
Job Title: Filler Operator
What Victor wants to say to Muhtar Kent:
Don’t be so fast to assume all is great at Elmsford. Stop the harassment, retaliation and, sad to say, the racism that comes from your management at these plants and give us a chance to become a workplace that makes health and safety of its employees a number one priority. We need the quality and respect we deserve at Coca-Cola. Equal Rights for Minorities.
I work at the Coca-Cola Elmsford Production Plant and I’ve been there for about 12 ½ years now. Like the Coke 16 racism complaints, I too, have been through so many bias, harassment and discrimination moments from supervisors/management.
My marriage has suffered a great loss of communication and I’ve had health issues because of the abuse from management. My marriage issues got like this because of the harassment at my job. I remember going to work scared, thinking I would lose my job because I was doing my job.
I’ve had fingers pointed in my face, screamed at and even suffered retaliation because of my doing my duties as a safety committee member. When speaking up about safety and health issues, I’ve had managers laugh in my face for bringing issues up at meetings. I have been threatened with being fired if I continued to complain about the mistreatment I got from management, including the brutality of words yelled at me.
I was a lab technician for 8 ½ years until I just couldn’t take the abuse and filthiness from my department. For example, management would give job duties on each production line for each lab tech to fulfill before their 8-hour workday was up. I believe that for certain people management gave their utmost priority to accommodate their job duties, breaks, overtime and even their medical issues. On the line that I was assigned to, each day before the work day ended, there were tanks to be tested, garbage to be dumped, water room tests and filter changes to be replaced.
On the shift prior to mine, I would end up doing all that work for the Caucasian male on that line. Management felt no need to make sure he did his job at any time despite all my complaints.
After years of this abuse, I left the lab to work in the production area where it seemed better, but was even worse. Management would give accommodation for certain people. This became obvious to me when I asked why it was that certain people always got the same area or duties or even the amount of time at break without anyone from management saying a word to them. All I was told was, they run the areas better than anyone. This was told to me by the production manager. Management didn’t give anyone else a chance to run those areas, so how could they compare?
There are many questions that many of the Coke 16 and other minorities ask themselves every day. However, it seems that nothing changes at The Coca-Cola Company. Training is something that is not being implemented and it seems to be just a "learn as you go" process. Looking back, I now understand why I got a chemical, which I used to clean the lines, shot right into my eye. It was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had. I thought my vision was gone for good. A supervisor assigned a new employee trained a day before, to train me to foam the line. I was never given any safety equipment — just go and learn. It had a faulty knob and when I was told to open it, the foam shot right into my eye.
Coca-Cola lacks the caring to do the right thing, just look at the record of safety the Elmsford Coca-Cola Plant has. Not to mention how many times OSHA had to go there and the many other times it was kept hush, so that OSHA would not get a report about the same safety violations.
There are so many violations that go on at the Elmsford Coca-Cola Plant that you even have some management staff saying they get scared to walk through the plant because they might get sick or something. This may sound funny at times to hear them say they get scared, but its health and safety that I worry about every day at work. Coca-Cola seems to lack the caring to do the right thing to change, open your eyes Coca-Cola Atlanta and for once, don’t think about the millions of dollars, but about your employees who are put in these unsafe areas.
As the years at Coca-Cola passed by, issues like my needing to go to the emergency room because of hyperventilation because of management’s yelling at me and threatening me. My manager would tell me things like, "Why did you leave early to care for your sick father? The job comes first!" or "Take your glasses off when you’re talking to me; look in my eyes; I don’t give a damn!" I ended up feeling so afraid. I asked for help but ended up with retaliation and harassment from my manager. No one HELPED. When finally people came to question my claims after so long all I got was "…oh don’t worry it won’t happen again." This is what Coca-Cola says, but could care less to really do something to help myself or minority workers.
I have never been written up for job performance or for insubordination in any way. I do my job to the best I can. I once believed that Coca-Cola was a job that came from God, but now it seems that it became a living hell.
This is a multi-billion dollar company that says "Open Happiness" on every bottle of soda, but there is no happiness for myself or other minority workers.