Dozens of food service drivers return to work following strike

Union members who walked off their jobs at Sysco Western MN Wednesday night due to claims of unfair labor practices say they have now returned to work.

According to Teamsters Local 120, about 50 food service drivers returned to work Friday, but the group says the fight may not be over.

RELATED: Food distribution company accused of unfair labor practices, work stoppage strike underway

As previously reported, the workers accused Sysco Western MN of practices such as withholding information on benefit plan offerings and not making changes to conditions evenly. They also claim the company offers wages and benefits far below the industry standard for unionized employees.

In a release Friday, union members say while “hopeful the company will come to their senses, this may not be the last dispute.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Sysco in response to the end of the strike, and received this response:

“We care about our associates and are committed to providing a fair and competitive wage and benefit package. Sysco Western Minnesota remains willing to continue negotiations in good faith and work toward a resolution. The company is working to deliver all orders to our customers by the end of the weekend.”

Sysco

The union previously stated its work stoppage could affect restaurants, schools and movie theaters that may not get deliveries.

Earlier this week, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the company for comment when the strike began and received the following statement:

“We are disappointed that, at this critical time, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 120, who represents our driver associates, has implemented a work stoppage at our Sysco Western Minnesota site. Our bargaining team has made an offer that would place our drivers well in excess of the majority of other drivers i the local market when comparing wages and benefits.

In comparison, the union’s unreasonable demands would increase Sysco Western Minnesota’s combined wage and benefit costs by more than 50% in the first year of the contract. An increase of this magnitude would place an unreasonable burden on our business and can ultimately lead to an increase in costs for all Sysco Western customers.

While we remain committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith, our immediate focus is now meeting the needs of our customers. We are utilizing every resource available to rapidly implement our business continuity plans and protect the livelihoods of our customers.

The Local 120’s allegations of unfair labor practices are without merit. Sysco Western Minnesota cares about its drivers and has provided a market competitive offer that includes meaningful wage increases, a robust benefits package and a ratification bonus of $3,500 per driver. Our bargaining team has also shared all required information about the offer, including information and costs related to its entire benefits program, with both the union representatives and Western Minnesota drivers. We seek to communicate transparently with the drivers so that they are able to make an informed decision and avoid further financial disruption to their families.”

Sysco