Sysco drivers voted overwhelmingly for Teamster representation in late August, the third election win in three weeks at the nation’s largest broadline foodservice provider.
Sysco South Florida workers in Miami previously won an election in August, and workers at Sysco-Sygma Kansas City won their election August 15.
The latest group in Hampton Roads, Va. has 87 workers in the bargaining unit. They work as route drivers, shuttle drivers, van drivers and ship delivery drivers.
“We wanted change. We were tired of being walked on. We want a voice on the job,” said driver Joe Whitlock, a 12-year employee. “It feels fantastic being a Teamster.”
James Wright, President of Local 822 in Norfolk, Va., said workers remained united despite the company’s vicious anti-worker, anti-union campaign.
“Sysco sent supervisors and union busters out to the routes to disrupt the drivers from making their deliveries as they preached the anti-union campaign, and they tried to spread lies about the union,” Wright said. “But despite this and other anti-union tactics, the workers focused on voting to form their union and to improve their lives.”
Chase Hibdon, 29, a five-year warehouse selector at the Kansas City location, said the unit of 33 of his co-workers voted “yes” to improve conditions in their facility, from seniority to ending favoritism. They are now members of Local 955 in Kansas City.
“We voted to change the future of Sysco-Sygma,” Hibdon said. “Everyone has come together to make it better for everyone.”
Jerry Wood, President of Local 955, said workers stood firm in their demand for a voice in the workplace despite an aggressive anti-union campaign in which the company terminated two union supporters.
“The workers are going to continue to stand firm as we sit down to bargain a first contract that provides dignity for the hard work they do every day,” Wood said.
“Florida workers are fed up with Sysco’s abuse of the law,” said Josh Zivalich, President of Local 769 in Miami. “They know a Teamster contract is their only protection and they’re willing to stand together to fight for fairness and justice.”
Teamsters represent more than 10,000 workers at 52 of 84 Sysco and Sysco-Sygma distribution centers nationwide.
“Once again, rather than making a serious change in labor relations, Sysco has chosen to employ anti-union tactics to try to deny these workers their lawful right to form their union,” said Steve Vairma, Teamsters Warehouse Division Director and International Vice President. “And once again, its employees have sent the company the message that these strategies will not work. Instead, the workers will continue to fight for justice.”