Foodservice workers at US Foods and Sysco in Southern California have ratified contracts that contain historic increases in wages and pension-benefit contributions, providing the workers with a secure future over the next six years and beyond.
Local 630 represents 187 warehouse and office workers at US Foods in La Mirada, California and 143 warehouse and office workers at Sysco in Walnut, California. Local 848 represents about 200 drivers at the same US Foods center, and about 245 drivers at Sysco. All four units either unanimously ratified the contracts, or did so with just a few no notes.
The contracts provide for a nearly $9 hourly increase in wages and pension benefit contributions over the term of the six-year contract, the highest amounts the locals have ever negotiated. That figure includes total hourly wage increases of $6.40 over the six-year contract.
“These drivers work very hard and they realize they are the union, and they take that to heart,” said Gil Baltazar, Local 848 President and Business Agent. “They take care of their customers and they take pride in what they do.”
“This contract rewards our members for their hard work and dedication, especially during this pandemic,” said Eric Tate, Local 848 Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer.
“Our members have kept this company going through the pandemic, even assisting the grocery distributors during the pandemic rush,” said Local 630 Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer Lou Villalvazo. “They put themselves and their families at risk to supply the customers. They earned this great contract!”
“These victories show how the power of standing together can result in contracts that raise standards across an industry,” said Steve Vairma, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “I applaud Locals 630 and 848 and all the negotiators for their hard work in winning these contracts that will protect hundreds of our members and their families in Southern California.”
“During these times of uncertainty through this pandemic, our members showed up and kept supplying the customers,” said Adam Methus, Local 630 divisional representative. “We would like to thank our bargaining committee, our shop stewards and our members that stood behind the local union to get this done. You all deserve this great contract!”
Steward Charles “Lucky” Lepins, a 30-year driver at Sysco who served on Local 848’s negotiating committee, said Tate and the committee did a great job fending off takeaways the company was attempting to grab. For example, the company wanted a one-year freeze to delay negotiating for a year. But the Teamsters rejected all givebacks.
“This contract gives the members great security and safe working conditions so I can return home to my family securely each night,” Lepins said. “It provides stability for me and my family, plus dignity and respect for all. More now than ever, being a Teamster has proven to be more valuable than ever, to have a collective bargaining unit that protects our needs during these challenging times. I am extremely proud and blessed to be a Teamster!”
In addition, the new contract provides Sysco retirees with excellent health care with no out-of-pocket cost, Lepins said. Retirees had been paying $200 or more monthly toward health care costs.
Steward Sam Oropallo, a 31-year driver at US Foods and Local 848 member who also served on the negotiating committee, said the contract continues to provide workers with excellent health care, with no out-of-pocket costs, and improved bereavement leave, among other improvements.
“This is a record-breaking contract for us,” Oropallo said. “In all the years I’ve been employed at US Foods, we’ve never had a contract this strong. I was proud to present this contract to the drivers and my coworkers. I think we ended up with one of the best contracts in the trucking industry.”
US Foods warehouse worker Rudy Lopez echoed Oropallo’s comment.
“This is the best contract I’ve seen in my 37 years at US Foods,” said Lopez, a steward and member of Local 630. “We would’ve never got this contract without the backing of this administration, thanks Lou!”
Dennis Glassco, a warehouse steward at Sysco, agreed.
“I’m a 40-year member,” said Glassco, a member of Local 630. “This is the best contract I’ve ever seen in the history of being at Sysco.”