Friday, November 11, 2011

100% Teamster solidarity as USFoods strike spreads to Chicago

The US Foods strike spread to Chicagoland this morning as Mike "Scrapper" Vagasky arrived at the Bensenville Distribution Center to extend the picket line.

Every driver refused to cross the line in another proud show of Teamster solidarity. We assume the fast-buck artists who've been looting US Foods for four years (that would be private-equity companies KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice) don't understand what "solidarity" means. We're showing them.

Here's what happened today, from a strike flyer:
One hundred percent of the drivers at US Foods Bensenville Distribution Center greeted ULP striker, Mike “Scrapper” Vagasky early this morning, leaving 65 truckloads sitting.

After scrambling for four hours, management was able to scrape together 46 scabs in an attempt to temporarily replace the Teamster drivers who honored Scrapper’s picket line. After another two hours and intense training on how to use a hand cart, 23 rented trucks, with two scabs in each, attempted the challenge of finding their way out of the yard. But a student driver of a double jack-knifed in front of the gate. This created a serious challenge for the other scabs to find the exit and made it almost impossible to leave for those who did find it.

On this Veterans Day, USFChicago management begged their veteran Teamster drivers to come back to work real soon.
On Thursday, nearly 1,000 US Foods Teamsters joined a telephone town hall to get the latest news on the Unfair Labor Practices strike that started in Streator, Ill. Teamsters International Vice President Ken Hall told callers,
We are in this fight to win!
Teamsters Warehouse Director John Williams chaired the call, which included Streator-based Local 772 President Steve Mongan. He said he was grateful for the more than 2,000 Teamsters who honored the picket line.

Teamsters Attorney Mike Manley explained to listeners their right to honor a picket line at their facility.  John Williams reminded callers if they had specific questions to ask shop stewards and business agents.

There were a number of questions on the call, but they had only two themes:
When is Scrapper coming to my yard?
I am proud to be a Teamster.
There's more background on the strike here. And click here to help out Scrapper, who can't work his other two jobs while he's traveling to extend the picket line.