Sysco Louisville Strike Ends in Victory for Drivers
Updated On: Apr 104, 2023
SYSCO LOUISVILLE STRIKE ENDS IN VICTORY FOR DRIVERS
April 8, 2023 - This evening, Teamsters Local 89 Sysco Drivers voted by a staggering 98% to ratify a new offer from the company, bringing a thirteen-day strike to a victorious end and establishing their first collective bargaining agreement. At the conclusion of the vote, President Avral Thompson swore in the Sysco Drivers as the newest members of our union.
These workers voted to join Local 89 in 2022 amid concerns about wages, benefits, safety, and a desire to end excruciatingly long and arduous work hours. In early March, drivers rejected a so-called “Last, Best and Final Offer” from the Company because it did not adequately address all those concerns. Drivers began an Unfair Labor Practice Strike thirteen days ago and extended their picket line to a Sysco facility in Los Angeles, California for two days last week. Over the last several days, Sysco began reaching out to Local 89 and International leadership seeking a way to end the strike and bring their drivers back to work.
“I’m just really proud of how all of us stood together for these last two weeks,” said Sysco Louisville Driver Michael Bonner. “Sysco told us we’d never be able to do it, but we proved them wrong – now we’re Teamsters.”
“These guys are new to being union, but they stuck together like they’ve been Teamsters for years,” said Business Agent Trey McCutcheon. “They showed Sysco what they’re made of and took the company down a few pegs in the process.”
Some of the most significant gains were made in wages and benefits. Delivery Drivers pay will immediately increase by $4.35, while Shuttle drivers were brought up by $5.35 to catch them up. Both groups will increase another $3.50 by the end of the five-year agreement, averaging a staggering 34.5% increase in pay over the life of the contract. Their previous healthcare plan where drivers had to pay 50% of their insurance premiums has now been reduced to just 20% which will result in thousands of dollars in savings for drivers and their families.
In addition to an exhaustive amount of other positive changes to things like sick days, additional equipment, and safety language, perhaps one of the most important changes lies in staffing. Drivers routinely worked 16-hour shifts, which took a heavy physical and mental toll and often put them behind the wheel when they were dangerously exhausted. As part of the new contract, Sysco Louisville must now hire nine additional delivery drivers and maintain a new minimum staffing number of 96. Any time there are fewer than 96 delivery drivers, Sysco will be required to pay double time for all time worked in excess of thirteen hours per day. This double time penalty will ensure that Sysco Louisville will be hard at work trying to keep their staffing high, which in turn will provide drivers with much needed overtime relief and allow them to spend more time at home with their loved ones.
“It took us about a year to get to this point, but I don’t regret a single minute of it,” said Sysco Louisville Driver Cory Browning. “We never gave up fighting, and Local 89 supported us every step of the way. We won a contract that’s going to change our lives, and we’ll only get stronger from here.”
“Sysco Louisville management has bragged for a long time about how proud they were to be ‘union free’,” said President Avral Thompson. “Well tonight that ended. These drivers are Teamster members now, and Local 89 will always have their backs.”
From President Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer Cooper, and everyone at Teamsters Local 89 – congratulations to Sysco Louisville drivers on your first contract, and welcome to our proud union family!