Sysco food service drivers and workers on strike in Bloomington, Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – MARCH 30: Sysco drivers picket outside a trucking transfer facility on West Dillman Road on March 30, 2023, in Bloomington, Indiana. Drivers from Sysco in Indianapolis bring food in a large delivery every morning for orders in Bloomington that are then reloaded into several trucks for local delivery. Sysco workers, represented by Teamsters Local 135 walked out on strike Sunday. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Workers who drive trucks for Sysco were on the picket line Thursday at a drop yard in the 400 block of West Dillman Road. A strike organized by Teamsters Local 135 began on Sunday at 9 p.m. and has continued this week.

A drop yard is a place where local Sysco trucks are parked, and food is trucked down to Bloomington from Indianapolis and then reloaded onto trucks for local delivery. Dozens of restaurants, bars and other establishments serving food and drinks have been affected by the strike in Bloomington, Indiana.

“We have had it with this company and their disregard for workers,” said Brian Thomas, one of 160 members of Teamsters Local 135 on strike at Sysco Indianapolis. “We’re tired of being taken advantage of and we are seriously concerned about benefits, workplace safety, and work-life balance.”

Workers say while the cost of living has gone up due to inflation, Sysco stuck to the wages negotiated in the last contract. Now the union is negotiating a new union contract, but Sysco executives haven’t been flexible.

“Nationally, Sysco [NYSE: SYY] faces multiple federal investigations for violating U.S. labor law. The Teamsters are currently in negotiations at several Sysco-branded locations across the country. Hundreds of Teamsters at the company are currently working without a contract or have contracts about to expire due to the company’s failure to bargain in good faith,” according to the Teamsters Union.

Workers in Louisville, Kentucky are also on strike.

“We’re asking to be compensated fairly for the hard work that we do,” said Michael Bonner, a Sysco driver and Teamsters Local 89 member in Louisville. “The company would rather put its employees and customers in a negative situation than just compensate us fairly.”

Workers voted unanimously to authorize a strike at both Sysco locations, according to the Teamsters Union.

“We are going to hold greedy employers accountable. If Sysco didn’t learn its lesson last October, then we will remind them again this spring,” said Tom Erickson, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “This is just the beginning. Teamsters nationwide are standing together to win the respect they deserve at this company.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 10,000 Sysco workers across America. Local 135 covers most of Indiana.

“Sales for fiscal year 2022 were $68.6 billion , an increase of 33.8% compared to the prior year. Gross profit increased 31.7% to $12.3 billion , and gross margin decreased 29 basis points to 18.0%, compared in each case to the prior year,” according to Sysco annual report:

https://investors.sysco.com/annual-reports-and-sec-filings/news-releases/2022/08-09-2022-130510832

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – MARCH 30: Sysco drivers picket outside a trucking transfer facility on West Dillman Road on March 30, 2023, in Bloomington, Indiana. Drivers from Sysco in Indianapolis bring food in a large delivery every morning for orders in Bloomington that are then reloaded into several trucks for local delivery. Sysco workers, represented by Teamsters Local 135 walked out on strike Sunday. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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