(ST. PAUL, Minn.) – Teamsters Local 120 Sysco drivers honored a picket line extension here today after company workers in Olathe, Kansas, began an unfair labor practice strike earlier in the day.
“We stand with our coworkers in the Kansas City area by honoring a picket line extension,” said Donald Huff, a driver with Sysco in St. Paul. “Sysco’s worker abuse needs to stop and the company needs to start following the law and it needs to treat its workers with dignity and respect.”
Workers began the strike at the Olathe, Kansas, 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 in Kansas 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.
The Minnesota workers began honoring the picket line extension at about 4 p.m. CST today.
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.