Press Releases

Administrative Law Judge Orders Sysco to Bargain With Teamsters in Grand Rapids


(WASHINGTON) – On March 2, 2017, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board ordered Sysco to begin bargaining with Teamsters Local 406 in Grand Rapids, Mich. after he found that the company threatened, intimidated and unlawfully punished workers during an organizing campaign in 2015.

The workers lost an election held May 7, 2015 by 11 votes. The administrative law judge found the evidence established that a majority of Sysco’s Grand Rapids employees supported Local 406 prior to the election but Sysco’s extensive unfair labor practices “were sufficiently severe so as to erode the majority support that the union had acquired.”  As a result, the judge issued an order directing Sysco to begin negotiating a contract for the 160 workers with Local 406.

“This is great news for the Sysco workers who had to endure an unbelievable onslaught of threats and intimidation for exercising their federally protected right to organize,” said Ellis Wood, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 406. “I look forward to finally being able to negotiate a contract for the Sysco workers so that they can address the issues that are important to them.”

The administrative law judge upheld the 79 unfair labor practice charges filed by Local 406, which included the company’s threats to close the plant down if they organized, threats to impose more stringent work rules, threats of loss of seniority and the company reducing the hours of those who supported the union drive.

“The judge also ruled that it must reinstate a worker who was fired two years ago with full back pay and benefits, which will be in excess of $200,000,” said Terry Hoogerhyde, Local 406 Recording Secretary and Business Agent.

“We are pleased that the administrative law judge recognized that Sysco went to great lengths to bully its workers in Grand Rapids,” said Steve Vairma, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “It’s time for Sysco to now bargain fairly and treat its workers with respect and dignity.”

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. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at