US Foods Provokes Strike


Members of Locals 355 and 570, both in Baltimore, engaged in an unfair labor practice strike against US Foods at its Severn, Md. facility.

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.

“US Foods is legally required to bargain with its workers’ representatives about a possible decision to close the distribution center. Instead, the company announced that it would not bargain with us until workers agreed to concessions that would slash their compensation by more than 50 percent,” said Local 355 President Denis Taylor.

“US Foods also started bringing in independent contractors to move inventory out of state. Workers took action and went on a ULP strike because US Foods left them with no other choice,” Taylor said.

“US Foods is threatening to close our facility because we refuse to let the company slash our wages, abolish our retirement plan and destroy our quality, affordable family health care. They won’t even bargain with us about it in good faith,” said Joe Schwabline, a steward at the Severn facility.

“If we all stand together, we can stand up to US Foods and its Wall Street owners and stop their bullying,” said Chris Price, another US Foods steward.

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.; Local 507 members in Twinsburg, Ohio and others.

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. For the latest information on the strike, visit