As the pandemic enters its third month, millions of Americans are depending on Teamsters to deliver their groceries and our jobs have never been more important. Your work keeps this country alive.
Those of you who were formerly employed by Dean Foods have most likely heard that the bankruptcy agreements with the two main buyers of the company’s remaining assets, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Prairie Farms (PF), were both successfully ratified by overwhelming majorities. Our national bargaining committee secured the best possible outcome given the circumstances and we were able to secure many jobs, wages and benefits that otherwise would have evaporated. I want to extend my sincerest thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated in the process. While negotiating in a bankruptcy environment is always an unsatisfactory experience, we were able to survive to come back and fight again.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the United States’ food supply chain to significant vulnerabilities. This heightened level of risk to the food supply chain comes at a time when maintaining the stability of food access is critical to the wellbeing of the American public. Given that all of you are the life force flowing through our food supply chain, we have developed best practices to keep you safe on the job, which you can access here. Furthermore, if you think that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you are entitled to a number of rights and protections both as a Teamster and under the law. You can learn more about those protections here.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact your shop steward or business agent. We are serving on the front lines during this devastating public health crisis and every single one of you who have continued to work because your communities depend on you have demonstrated a level of bravery and resolve that makes me honored to represent you. The prosperity of your country, community and union is contingent upon the work that you do each and every day.
Director, Dairy and Food Processing Divisions