Sysco Teamster, Will Buff, talks about the power of his Teamsters contract.
Our union bargaining team meets at the Tukwila hall during contract negotiations with Sysco.
Great news for Teamsters in the food service industry! This weekend our members at Sysco voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 3-year contract. The agreement provides annual wage increases, retirement security, and affordable health care for over 200 Local 117 members and their families.
“Our negotiations committee worked incredibly hard to achieve this agreement,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 and the lead negotiator for the union. “Together with last year’s contract at US Foods, this agreement sets the standard for food service contracts across the country.”
Getting to a deal was far from easy. Sysco is a massive multinational food service conglomerate, the largest broadline food distributor in the world. The company has made life difficult for Teamsters in other parts of the country.
Earlier this year, Local 117 members showed solidarity with Teamsters in Oklahoma where the company fired several shop stewards. In Missouri, Sysco employees established an unfair labor practice picket line at the end of 2017 to protest alleged violations of federal labor law.
Here in the Northwest, the group’s unity and resolve helped beat back proposed concessions at the bargaining table. The group sent a powerful message to the company when they voted unanimously to authorize a strike several weeks ago.
“We went into these negotiations with clear goals and expectations,” said Rowan Griffin, a shop steward on our union bargaining team. “John Scearcy’s skills as a negotiator are undeniable. We are lucky to have such strong leadership in our union.”
"We were successful because we have strong leadership and solid member participation."
Will Buff, a rank-and-file veteran of several Sysco negotiations, reiterated that point. “We were successful because we have strong leadership and solid member participation. There was trust between our negotiations team and our union’s leadership like never before.”
“Our members take pride in their work and know their value,” Scearcy said. “They stuck together and fought to win a contract that reflects the important service they provide to families who rely on meals at hospitals, schools, daycare centers, and nursing homes across our region.”
Sysco Teamsters in front of our union hall in Tukwila after the strike authorization vote.
There was not a single no vote in the house. All Teamster drivers and warehouse workers who packed the union hall for the Sysco meeting on Saturday cast their vote to authorize a strike.
The unanimous strike vote sends a clear message to the company that the group is not backing down in their fight for fairness.
The company came into negotiations with a substandard proposal across the board and have taken some actions that we are investigating as potential violations of federal labor law.
“Teamsters at Sysco in Seattle are prepared to strike for fair treatment and to protect their livelihoods,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 and the lead negotiator for the union. “Our members work incredibly hard to supply safe food service products to schools, restaurants, and hospitals across our region. The company needs to recognize them for their labor.”
Negotiations between Sysco and our union got underway in July, with the contract set to expire on September 1. No extension agreement has been signed.
In other parts of the country, Sysco has been trampling on the rights of workers. In recent months, Local 117 members have participated in Days of Action to show solidarity with Teamsters in Oklahoma where the company has fired multiple shop stewards and tried to break the union. Late last year, Sysco Teamsters in Missouri established an unfair labor practice picket line to protest alleged violations of federal labor law.
We are hopeful that when Sysco returns to the negotiations table, they will bargain in good faith. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.
Members of the bargaining committee in front of Teamsters Tukwila Hall.
Teamster members of Local 117 will not be disrespected. It was just the second day of bargaining with Sysco when the company proposed eliminating restrictions on the amount of overtime they can force our members to work and restricting access to vacation time during the summer months.
"We are not prepared to make any concessions. Better wages, healthcare and pension are on the agenda."
“Drivers are already driving 12 to 14 hours a day and barely see their families,” said Roland Griffin, Sysco Warehouse worker of 25 years. His co-worker and fellow shop steward Erick Engel added: “These proposals strip even more time away from our families and negatively affect our overall quality of life”
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy is leading these negotiations. “Our members have provided us clear direction. They deserve a fair contract, and I am committed to them getting one,” he said.
Sysco is the world's largest broadline food distributor. The hard labor of its workers has grown its profits beyond expectation for three quarters in a row. Despite that, the company is looking to make the working conditions even more difficult for workers.
“Sysco it trying to play hardball with the bargaining team, but we are not prepared to make any concessions. Better wages, healthcare and pension are on the agenda,” concluded Engel.
"It's Our Union - And We'll Fight For It!" That's what Teamsters at Sysco are saying.
Today Local 117 members took part in a National Day of Action. The group of drivers and warehouse workers wore solidarity stickers & put signs in their vehicles in support of our Brothers & Sisters at Local 866 in Oklahoma where the company has fired two shop stewards & are trying to break the union.
The show of unity and support of fellow Teamsters across the country comes just a few weeks before contract negotiations with Sysco kick off this summer.
Our members are ready to fight for a contract that respects the critical work they do to house and supply food services products throughout our region.
Local 117 members at the Sysco warehouse in Kent send solidarity and encouragement to their Brothers and Sisters in Spokane.
Members of Teamsters 117 who work in the food service industry are sending messages of solidarity to their Brothers and Sisters who work at the Sysco warehouse in Spokane.
The Spokane warehouse group is fighting to win their Union and become members of Teamsters Local 690. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election is scheduled for this Thursday, March 2.
"I stand with my Brothers and Sisters in Spokane to have a voice at work."
Last night, dozens of our members at Food Services of America and the Sysco in Kent shared photos with signs that read, "This Teamster stands with the Spokane Sysco warehouse" and "Vote YES!" Many offered words of encouragement:
“I have been at the bargaining table and have seen first-hand what this Company has proposed and would implement if we were not Union here in Seattle," said James Borsum, a Teamster 117 member who works for Sysco in Seattle. "I stand with my Brothers and Sisters in Spokane to have a voice at work.”
Yesterday, Sysco sent a letter to their employees' homes trying to convince them to vote against the Union.
"These kinds of tactics are typically used to try to intimidate employees and frighten family members," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Sysco should refrain from this kind of ugly campaigning, respect the democratic process and their employees."