(Rosemont, Ill)—A caravan of Teamster 18-wheelers from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin surrounded KKR’s U.S. Foodservice headquarters today in protest of the company’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith with its employees in Streator, Illinois. View photos from this event.
U.S. Foodservice workers in Streator have been working without a union contract since May 9 and Teamster negotiators claim that U.S. Foodservice is stalling progress in negotiations. The company could lock out workers or force a strike at any moment.
U.S. Foodservice wants to impose dozens of changes to the current contract including the implementation of a discriminatory pay plan, the erosion of healthcare benefits, and the reduction of recall rights for laid-off workers. The company is also refusing to provide the union with information to substantiate the need for such drastic changes.
“We understand that we are in a slow economy, but that does not justify the level of disrespect U.S. Foodservice has shown at the bargaining table. A strike in Streator could cause service disruptions around the region for U.S. Foodservice customers. That’s not good for anybody,” said Tom Swiatowiec of Teamsters Local 705 which represents U.S. Foodservice workers in Chicago.
A delegation also delivered a letter to U.S. Foodservice executives calling on a speedy and fair resolution to the dispute.
“We are here today because Teamsters workers at U.S. Foodservice understand the importance of solidarity. U.S. Foodservice and its private equity owners KKR and CD&R need to understand that when they attack one of us, they attack all of us,” said Bryan Rademacher, Teamsters Local 120 representing workers at U.S. Foodservice in Minneapolis.
U.S. Foodservice, based in Rosemont, Illinois, is owned by private equity firms Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Inc. (CD&R), and is one of the largest food distributors in the United States. The company distributes food to schools, universities, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and restaurants. The company has annual revenues of approximately $20 billion and 25,000 employees.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.