On May 11th Sysco Warehouse workers in Post Falls, ID unanimously voted to ratify a Teamsters contract and join Local 690 in Spokane, WA.
“It was a lack of respect for senior employees that have been there from the beginning, healthcare was a big issue and it just continually got worse”, said Devon Horner, a Warehouse Loader at Sysco Post Falls. “We figured the best way to get that respect was to organize with the Teamsters and join Local 690 in Spokane, WA”.
“Sysco Post Falls has been open for about 15 years with the drivers as Teamsters from the beginning” said Val Holstrom, Secretary- Treasurer of Local 690. “After we negotiated the driver’s contract this last time the warehouse workers realized they were really getting mistreated, so they came to us and asked for our help.” Sysco pushed back hard on these efforts. “They brought union busters in to try and dissuade us, they threatened us with not being able to speak to management, that we would have to start negotiating from a blank piece of paper and end up with zero” said Horner. “They even tried to threaten us by saying they’d take away our pizza meetings.”
After 6 months of organizing and 14 months of bargaining an agreement was finally reached. “We had many challenges getting Teamster health and welfare, getting decent raises in their wages” said Holstrom. “We took a strike vote was prepared to take them out the people were committed, we had the full backing of the IBT and we came to an agreement.”
“I can’t thank enough the warehouse director, the staff of the IBT, our Business Agent Larry Kroetch who was there from day one, and dedicated to getting these guys raises”, said Holstrom. “Our Business Agent at 690 went above and beyond since day one to support us”, said Horner “It’s in big part to the organizing model that the IBT has in educating they did a phenomenal job in helping these guys remain a strong unit, telling them what to expect” said Holstrom. “It worked, and it worked well, these guys got everything they wanted and more in that contract.”