Sysco US Foods Update


In an initial victory for Teamsters at Sysco and US Foods, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in February sued to block the merger of the country’s top two broadline foodservice providers, saying the deal would lessen competition and raise prices for customers across the country.

Sysco and US Foods will face off against the government in federal court in May when a judge hears the government’s case for a preliminary injunction to halt the merger.

“We applaud the FTC’s decision because this merger is bad for members, customers, consumers and ultimately for the broadline foodservice industry,” said General President Jim Hoffa.

Ten states and the District of Columbia joined the suit, which alleges a merged Sysco and US Foods create a “dominant national” player which would own 75 percent of the national foodservice market and a majority of 32 local markets.

“The FTC’s suit mirrors what our members have told us from day one,” said Steven P. Vairma, Teamster International Vice President and Warehouse Division Director. “We expressed concern about the proposed merger from early on. Our knowledge was informed by the people who understand how these companies work, the warehouse workers and drivers who are the lifeblood of the operations.”

The FTC lawsuit underscored growing momentum in the Sysco-US Foods Workers United campaign to protect jobs and grow Teamster density in the foodservice industry.

Teamster locals represent more than 8,200 Sysco members and nearly 4,000 at US Foods under 99 collective bargaining agreements. Sysco’s December 2013 announcement of plans to purchase US Foods has led to new organizing campaigns from coast to coast.

Sysco said the merger would allow the company to save $600 million over three to four years, largely through consolidation and “synergies” in its distribution system, raising workers’ concerns over job security.

Locals 528 and 41 are in first contract negotiations for new Teamsters units – 423 Sysco warehouse workers and drivers in Atlanta and 43 Sysco city drivers in Kansas City, Mo.

“This is such an important achievement for me, my coworkers and our families,” said Lennie Ransby, a nine-year Atlanta Sysco driver. “With everything that is happening at Sysco, we need union representation, and I’m happy today because now we have it.”

At US Foods, Local 63 ratified a first contract for 75 warehouse workers in Corona, Calif., in mid-March. Local 107 is negotiating for a new unit of four mechanics in Bridgeport, N.J., in addition to the drivers and warehouse workers already under contract at that site.

At a Warehouse Division meeting for Sysco and US Foods locals following the FTC announcement, Hoffa urged locals to seize the moment.

“Let’s show Sysco and US Foods and any companies in this industry that we speak with one voice, that we move and work together as one, that they will not be able to take us on one at a time now or in the future,” Hoffa said.