BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The labor strike at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Bethlehem continues.
Workers have been walking the picket line for nearly a month.
Bethlehem police have been called several times to keep the peace and now officers are posted at the site full-time.
Workers at the ABARTA Coca-Cola plant in Bethlehem are striking over pension and health care issues.
Police are posted at the plant and during store deliveries to keep the peace.
Grace Crampsie Smith, Bethlehem City Council Member, says the police patrols need to stop.
"I don’t think we should be involved in labor-management conflict, because that opens a Pandora’s box for the city police department and the police department," said Crampsie Smith.
Crampsie Smith continued to say the officers are posted under what is called roster duty, where officers can sign up for overtime and the company where they are posted reimburses the city for their time.
She says the department is already understaffed and over stressed because of COVID.
"It also causes an increase in pension costs for the taxpayer and that’s a concern," said Crampsie Smith.
Crampsie Smith says she discussed her concerns about roster duty during city council meetings and is speaking with Mayor Reynolds and Police Chief Michelle Kott about removing the officers from the Coca-Cola plant.
She says the city needs to take a hard look at roster duty criteria.
"Roster duty has been a subject of conversation since several city council meetings and I think we do need to look at it and establish clear-cut criteria as to when it will be employed," said Crampsie Smith.
The mayor and police chief were unavailable for comment.