In Wake Of Smithfield Foods COVID-19 Outbreak, Teamsters Say YRCW Freight Call Center Could Be Next Hot Spot


Press Contact: Tyler Barrett Phone: (605) 920-1305

(SIOUX FALLS, SD) – One hundred and sixty employees at a YRCW Freight call center are frightened their workplace could be the next hot spot. Despite a confirmed COVID-19 case, the call center has continued business as usual. 

“YRCW management is not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously,” said Tyler Barrett, Teamsters Local 120 Business Agent who represents the call center employees. “The lack of action and concern from management has been alarming. They’ve provided little to no communication to employees, and whatever information they have communicated appears to be either false or incomplete.” 

After hearing about the confirmed COVID-19 case, Barrett said the employees were informed by YRCW management that the call center would be undergoing a “deep cleaning.” However, the supposed cleaning does not appear to have taken place. 

“My members are calling and sending me pictures of their unsanitary work environment. If there was any cleaning done, it wasn’t close to sufficient,” Barrett said. “When employees questioned management about the lack of safety precautions taken, they were told they were embarrassing themselves and were instructed to bring in their own personal cleaning supplies.” 

One employee representative was disciplined for vocalizing her concerns about the noticeably unsafe conditions. Teamsters Local 120 President, Tom Erickson, said the Union will not stay silent. “The handling of this situation is both disgraceful and irresponsible, especially after what happened at Smithfield,” Erickson said. 

“The negligent and arrogant attitudes of these managers puts the health and safety of our members and the general public at serious risk. This company is knowingly contributing to the possible spread of COVID-19. There are guidelines set in place by the CDC that they appear to be disregarding. We will not tolerate that for our members. YRCW management clearly does not recognize the extreme urgency of this situation. We need our local officials to step in and hold them to account,” Erickson said.

Teamsters Local 120 proudly represents over 11,500 members in the States of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We serve members in a variety of industries, from freight, airline, warehousing, and foodservice in the private sector, to police officers and city workers in the public sector. Our Local Union negotiates industry-leading contracts and defends our members’ rights every day.