“Teamsters Local 653 members employed at Sysco Boston will remain on the picket line 24-7 until the company retracts its ‘last best, and final INSULT!’ We will be at 99 Spring St., Plympton, MA until the company returns with the contract we deserve and have earned!” according to a Facebook post on the Teamsters Local 653 web page. “It’s an all-out worker revolt as Sysco Boston walks out on strike!” the post continued. “One day longer – One day stronger!”
Just after midnight, Oct. 1, more than 300 members of the Teamsters Local Union 653 walked off the job, after contract negotiations with Sysco of Boston’s final offer was rejected by the union, who chose not to bring it to a vote of the membership, claiming Sysco took their “abhorrent anti-worker treatment to new lows, giving a ‘take it or leave it’ final offer that strips their essential workers of high-quality union health insurance, denies members of a secure retirement with a union pension, and offers meager wage increases amid drastically rising inflation,” the comments on the web page continued. The strike vote was taken by a vote of the negotiating committee.
Sysco has hired workers to continue operations during the work stoppage, but not all of the restaurants, schools, hospitals, care facilities, and sports venues that depend on Sysco’s services will receive the needed supplies. The Boston Globe reported that some customers are coming in to the Spring Street, Plympton facility to pick up their own orders.
Plympton Police and Fire Departments are actively monitoring the labor dispute and say that there is no danger to the public and no threat to public safety.
In a joint statement released to the press by Police Chief Matthew Ahl and Fire Chief Stephen Silva, “Individuals walking the picket line have been boisterous at times by respectful of boundaries. There have been no reported injuries or acts of violence.
Multiple police, fire, and state assets are on the scene assisting with monitoring the situation,” the statement continues. “There will be a public safety presence in the area throughout the duration of the work stoppage.”
Sysco claims their offer of a 25% increase over the course of the contract, beginning with a 7% increase the first year, puts drivers on a path to earn $110,000. They also claim that their health insurance would save on premiums. The teamsters counter that the increases would only cover tractor trailer truck drivers, and not include the van drivers. Teamsters say that the increased co-pay and deductibles on the Sysco-proposed health plan would offset any savings on premiums. Teamsters also want the pension plan that was discontinued a decade ago be reinstated.
As of press time Wednesday morning, the picket lines were still in force in the pouring cold rain.
~Page one photos from Sysco website and Teamsters Local Union 653 website.