Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US Foods strike enters third week

Solidarity in Bensenville, Ill.
The impressive show of Teamster solidarity continues through the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic region. Yesterday in Severn, Md., nearly 300 members of Teamsters Local 355 and 570 refused to cross the picket line at US Foods, honoring a sympathy picket established by Teamsters Local 311. They acted in support of Mike "Scrapper" Vagasky and other custodial workers at the US Foods facility in Streator, Ill. The Severn plant was mothballed for the night.

The strike in Maryland followed two actions since Friday in Illinois. On Friday, Vagasky extended his picketing to Bensenville, Ill., at 2 a.m.. Members of Local 705 refused to cross the line. On Monday, he picketed at the US Foods warehouse where he works in Streator. His picket line was honored by fellow members of Teamsters Local 722 for 20 hours.

Strike extensions and pickets have temporarily shut down or disrupted 12 US Foods facilities around the country.

Here's the latest Teamsters press release on the strike:
“An injury against one is an injury against all,” said Teamsters Warehouse Division Director John Williams. “Teamsters across the country will not stand for the kind of bullying behavior US Foods is demonstrating.”
...US Foods, which distributes food and related products to restaurants, military bases and hospitals, is owned by private equity giants KKR and CD&R. KKR and CD&R purchased US Foods (then U.S. Foodservice) in 2007, then saddled US Foods with approximately $5 billion in debt.
“After KKR and CD&R purchased US Foods, they have done nothing but bully, harass and intimidate its workers,” Williams said. “These private equity companies are part of the top 1 percent who are destroying jobs all over America. Our members are part of the 99 percent and refuse to stand for this kind of economic and social injustice.”
Scrapper is having a hard time making ends meet, as his traveling doesn't allow him to work his other two jobs. You can help a fellow Teamster here.

For more background about the strike, go here and here. And you can "Like" the USfoods Workersunited Facebook page. Follow the strike on Twitter at #USFoodsWorkers.