(STREATOR, IL) – US Foods workers were forced to strike the nation’s second largest foodservice distributor this weekend in response to the company’s unfair labor practices, which include retaliating against employees for engaging in union activity and refusal to bargain in good faith with Teamsters Local 722 in La Salle, Ill.
US Foods disciplined a worker for being absent while he was in contract negotiations with the company as part of the bargaining committee. U.S. Foods, which distributes food and related products to restaurants, military bases and hospitals, is owned by private equity giants KKR and CD&R.
Maintenance workers at US Foods’ facility in Streator, Ill. struck on Sunday, then extended pickets today to US Foods distribution centers in St. Louis, Mo. and Buffalo, N.Y. Teamster-represented US Foods employees at these facilities can refuse to cross legal, primary pickets. The 95 warehouse workers and drivers in Streator, as well as the 265 workers in St. Louis and Buffalo, are refusing to cross the picket lines.
“The workers at US Foods care about this company and its customers,” said Local 722 President Steve Mongan. “They don’t want to strike, but like the rest of the 99 percent in America, they are tired of being disrespected and having their rights under federal labor law violated while the private equity firms in the top 1 percent destroy their livelihood.”
Private equity firms KKR and CD&R purchased US Foods (then U.S. Foodservice) in 2007. The private equity purchase saddled US Foods with approximately $5 billion in debt.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is investigating several alleged labor law violations committed by the company, including bargaining in bad faith. In 2009, Region 28 of the NLRB cited the company for violating federal labor law almost 200 times during a union-organizing effort in Phoenix.
More recently, the company agreed to a $30 million dollar settlement with the Department of Justice in the face of charges that it fraudulently overcharged the Department of Defense and Veterans’ Administration under contracts to supply American servicemen and servicewomen at military bases.
“Unfortunately, the situation in Illinois isn’t an isolated case,” said Teamsters Warehouse Division Director John Williams. “Since its purchase by private equity investment firms, US Foods has increasingly tried to intimidate, harass and bully its employees to the detriment of both workers and customers.”
The Teamsters represent approximately 4,000 employees at US Foods at 24 distribution centers throughout the nation.
For more information, visit www.USFoodsWorkers.org.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information.