North America's Strongest Union

A Message to Warehouse Teamsters from Division Director Steve Vairma

As one of the largest divisions in the Teamsters Union, the Warehouse Division has been working with our local unions in the grocery and broadline industries during this unprecedented time. The division is working at all levels to ensure that those still working are doing so safely and fairly: 

  • We continue to call on employers to fully enforce CDC guidelines — whether on the federal, state or local level — in the workplace. The division is also not backing down in our effort to push for mechanisms to hold employers accountable for protecting workers.
  • Last week Kroger announced that it will no longer provide hazard pay (‘Hero Bonus’) to employees starting May 16. The circumstances have not warranted any reason to discontinue workers’ “Hero Bonus” (hazard pay) at Kroger, and the division has put out a petition to tell Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, that this is not the time to cut hazard pay for essential workers still facing extreme conditions on the job: 
  • On May 7, the division won an arbitration for a former steward at Sysco in Oklahoma who was illegally terminated and will now receive back pay. 
  • Thanks to the fight for justice for airline workers in federal legislation, thousands of Gate Gourmet workers and workers at other airline catering companies will continue to receive wages and benefits until Sep. 30, 2020. 
  • In a unanimous vote last month, Sysco warehouse workers who are members of Teamsters Local 822 in Norfolk, Virginia have ratified their first contract.
  • We are continuing to work with Albertsons, US Foods and Sysco to develop a plan to utilize our members facing layoffs in the broadline industry, to keep them working with as little disruption as we can.  

The food service industry has been classified as “essential infrastructure” by the federal government, and supermarkets are required to continue operating during the pandemic. Many Teamster-represented companies have been designated as essential suppliers.

These are not normal times or conditions. As Teamsters, we know it takes a collective effort between warehouse workers and drivers to keep store shelves filled for families everywhere. We will be doing everything possible to keep our members working and the supply chain running.