(ATLANTA) – In a major victory, Sysco workers have voted to join Teamsters Local 528 in Atlanta. With 423 workers in the bargaining unit, the vote for Teamster representation is the biggest at Sysco in years. Today’s vote count of 220-141 comes as the Federal Trade Commission continues its review of the proposed merger between Sysco and US Foods, a transaction that could place Sysco and US Foods workers’ jobs in jeopardy.
The bargaining unit includes Sysco drivers, warehouse workers, fleet and facility maintenance employees and shuttle yard drivers.
“This is a huge victory for the workers and it shows that they are determined to have a collective voice on the job,” said Maurice Cobb, President of Teamsters Local 528. “Sysco is a tough employer with a long history of fighting its workers’ efforts to form a union. But these drivers and warehouse workers stood up against the company’s very aggressive anti-union campaign and consultants. We look forward to negotiating a strong contract for them that secures fair treatment and job security at Sysco.”
Sysco workers in Atlanta organized in response to unfair work rules and concessions to the company. Like warehouse workers around the country, the workers in Atlanta are also wary of job losses that may result from Sysco’s possible acquisition of US Foods.
Workers’ votes were tallied this morning after voting began last week by mail and in person. A majority of the workers voiced support for union representation by signing authorization cards before the election as Sysco, the nation’s largest industrial food service provider, seeks to acquire US Foods, the second-largest. The $3.5 billion transaction has received intense scrutiny by state attorneys general and antitrust review by federal regulators.
“Sysco workers in Atlanta – like thousands around the country – are concerned about the possible merger with US Foods and are building a movement to defend jobs,” said Steve Vairma, Teamsters International Vice President and Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “The workers in Atlanta voted to join the Teamsters in the face of a potentially dangerous merger because the Teamsters are leading the fight for workers’ jobs at Sysco and US Foods. This victory demonstrates our power when we stand together.”
Today’s victory for Teamster representation comes on the heels of a victory last month for warehouse drivers in Kansas City, Mo., who voted to join the Teamsters and US Foods workers in California who joined the union in September.
“This is such an important achievement for me, my co-workers and our families. With everything that is happening at Sysco, we need union representation – and I’m happy today because now we have it,” said Lennie Ransby, a 9-year driver for the company in Atlanta.
“We are tired of being taken advantage of at work. Our pay has been decreased and more work has been put on our backs. The unfair treatment has to stop – that’s why we voted for the Teamsters. Today is a proud day for me and my co-workers,” said Bruce Her, a Sysco warehouse worker.
The Teamsters represent more than 12,000 members at Sysco and US Foods. “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SyscoUSFworkers for more information on the Sysco/US Foods campaign.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903 and 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. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.