(SEVERN, Md.) – Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa this afternoon met and walked the picket line with some 50 members of Locals 355 and 570 engaged in an unfair labor practices strike against US Foods at its Severn, Md. facility for almost three weeks. See more photos, here.
Nearly 200 Maryland Teamsters working at the distribution center went on strike April 27. Warehouse workers and drivers filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that US Foods has bargained in bad faith about its decision to close the Severn facility in June.
Hoffa said the workers are standing up to threats by the company that would cut wages and benefits for each of them by about $40,000 a year.
“US Foods is attempting to pull these workers out of the middle class,” he said. “Slashing pay as well as health and retirement benefits is no way to ensure that this formerly Maryland-based company remains a good corporate partner in the Free State.”
Since the Severn ULP strike began, more than 1,000 Teamsters across the country have either gone on strike themselves or honored the picket line. US Foods workers who have stood in solidarity with the Severn workers since they went on strike include Local 722 members in Streator, Ill.; Local 337 members in Wixom, Mich.; Local 264 in Buffalo, N.Y.; and Local 507 members in Twinsburg, Ohio.
The current labor disputes are not new to US Foods. In February, more than 200 Teamsters at the Phoenix facility went on a four-day unfair labor practice strike. In 2011, an unfair labor practice strike by maintenance employees in Streator was extended to more than 10 US foods facilities across America. More than 2,000 Teamsters honored extended picket lines during the 2011 strike.
US Foods is the nation’s second-largest foodservice provider. It is owned by Wall Street private equity behemoths KKR and CD&R, which added nearly $5 billion of debt to US Foods’ books when they bought it in 2007. US Foods announced its IPO in February, trying to raise $1 billion from investors.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.