(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) – Teamsters Local 41 Sysco drivers are now on strike at the company’s Olathe, Kan., distribution center after management allegedly threatened reprisals for the workers’ union activity. Nationally, Sysco faces multiple federal investigations of unlawful company surveillance, threats, discrimination, and terminations of union supporters in Kansas, Florida, California, South Carolina, Michigan and Washington.
Pickets went up around 4 a.m. CST, one day before Sysco convenes its 2017 annual shareholder meeting in Houston, Texas, the company’s headquarters. A delegation of Teamsters and renowned labor rights expert Kate Bronfenbrenner, of Cornell University, are set to address Sysco executives and its Board of Directors about the company’s systemic abuses of federal law and workers’ rights across the country.
“We are on strike to send a message to Sysco that its mistreatment of workers must stop now,” said Yakov Noykhovich, a driver at Sysco in Olathe.
More than 40 Sysco city drivers at Sysco-Kansas City voted to become Teamsters on October 31, 2014. But workers don’t yet have an agreement, said Steve Vairma, Teamsters International Vice President and Warehouse Division Director, because the company has failed to bargain in good faith.
“There is no excuse, none whatsoever, for Sysco management’s flagrant violations of workers’ rights simply because workers seek the security of a Teamster contract,” Vairma said. “This company’s number one position in the market is built on the backs of more 8,600 Teamster members who service Sysco customers in virtually every major metropolitan market. Sysco would do well to remember that.”
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 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.