(WASHINGTON) – Grand Rapids, Mich., Sysco workers will vote on Teamsters Local 406 representation Thursday after a months-long anti-union campaign waged by their employer, accused of multiple federal law violations during union organizing campaigns around the U.S.
“From Georgia to Kansas City to Michigan, Sysco has spared no expense to try to prevent workers from achieving the security of a union contract,” said Ron Holzgen, Teamsters Local 406 Secretary-Treasurer. “In Grand Rapids, 160 men and women are one step away from protecting their families and their futures. They deserve to make this choice free from Sysco’s harassment and intimidation.”
In Grand Rapids, Sysco hired anti-union consulting firm International Labor Relations to thwart workers’ efforts to form a union, paying ILR a $15,000 retainer fee and its consultants $3,000 a day to pressure workers to vote against their own interests.
Last month In Atlanta, where Sysco terminated 14 union supporters during a union organizing drive, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said it planned to issue a complaint against Sysco for various labor law violations, including retaliation for union activity. And in Olathe, Kan., the NLRB conducted an extensive investigation, concluding Sysco violated the law by interrogating drivers and threatening to deprive them of benefits if they supported the union. The company has chosen to settle charges in both locations.
“This company is not only the largest broadline foodservice provider in the country, but it’s also distinguishing itself as the industry’s biggest bully,” said Steve Vairma, Teamster International Vice President and Warehouse Division Director. “It’s time for Sysco to change its relationship with loyal, hard-working employees. It can start by respecting federal law and workers’ fundamental rights to freedom of association.”
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, including more than 12,000 Sysco and US Foods workers. “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SyscoUSFworkers for more information on the Sysco/US Foods campaign.