Teamster warehouse workers and drivers who are employed at the major food service conglomerate Sysco have voted unanimously to authorize a strike. The vote took place on Saturday, September 19 at the Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila.
Union members voted 150-0 in favor of authorizing a strike after the Company allegedly committed a series of Unfair Labor Practices. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating Sysco for charges of bad-faith bargaining, unilateral changes in working conditions, and worker intimidation.
“Instead of bargaining in good faith, Sysco has walked away from the bargaining table, unilaterally changed working conditions, and is trying to intimidate its hardworking employees,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
The contract between Sysco and Teamsters Local 117 expired on September 1, 2015. The parties signed an extension agreement that will expire at midnight on October 7. Bargaining is currently scheduled for October 6 and October 7
“Sysco needs to commit to good-faith bargaining that respects its employees and their families. Otherwise, the Company runs the risk of a labor dispute that would disrupt delivery to Sysco customers across Western Washington,” Scearcy said.
Approximately 220 Teamster drivers and warehouse workers are employed at Sysco’s food service distribution center in Kent. In June, the workers were recognized by Sysco for breaking the Company’s productivity records.
“A warehouse job is hard work,” said James Borsum, an eleven-year Sysco employee, who has worked both in the warehouse, and as a driver. “You’re just putting your head down, not seeing the light of day, making sure the product gets to the customer. It’s a slap in the face when you have people who have given so much to the company, and then you’re not respected for it.”
The Sysco Corporation, based in Houston, TX, is the largest food distribution company in the world. The Company’s Kent distribution center delivers food service products to restaurants, schools, and hospitals throughout Western Washington as well as to major area businesses such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Century Link field.