Thursday, December 1, 2011

Even more solidarity from US Foods Teamsters

Bridgeport solidarity, Nov. 3.
Not one Teamster crossed a US Foods picket line extended again to Swedesboro and Bridgeport, N.J., last night. Since Oct. 30, more than 2,000 Teamsters have participated in a rolling sympathy strike for two Teamster brothers abused by US Foods management. Teamster solidarity is even more remarkable in light of a new report that US Foods is consolidating its power at the top of the food-distribution chain.
Technomics reports,
Even as the overall economy languished, the largest U.S. foodservice distribution companies managed to grow and solidify their position at the top of the industry.
Apparently CD&R and KKR -- the fast-buck artists that have been plundering US Foods for the past four years -- think they can push around their workers. At the heart of the strike is one custodial worker, Mike "Scrapper" Vagasky, a Local 722 member who was punished for participating in contract negotiations. The other custodial worker is on disability.

Bill Knight at the Daily Review Atlas gets the lesson of the US Foods strike:
...a determined few can stand up for themselves; with their union brothers and sisters they can stand up to the rich and powerful; they can use traditional tactics, exemplified by the solidarity of sympathy strikes; and they also can be creative, resorting to actions such as “rolling strikes” – short work stoppages here and there where a common employer operates.
Determined Teamsters in Swedesboro, Nov. 3.
According to the Teamsters press release,
Teamsters from Locals 628 in Philadelphia and 169 in Elkins Park, Penn. once again refused to cross picket lines at US Foods distribution facilities in Swedesboro and Bridgeport, N.J. yesterday evening.
The sympathy picket lines, which were established by members of Locals 1414 in Philadelphia and 676 in Collingswood, N.J....
Picket line extensions and sympathy pickets have spread to 12 US Foods facilities across the country during the past month. More than 2,000 Teamsters have honored picket lines in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Colorado and Maryland.
Here's what John Williams, Teamsters warehouse division director, said:
Our members who work at US Foods care about this company and its customers, but they are not willing to cross lawful picket lines. Our members, like the rest of the 99 percent in America, are tired of being bullied and having their rights under federal labor law violated while the private equity firms and other Wall Street bankers in the top one percent destroy their livelihood.
Props to all our Teamster brothers and sisters who walk and who honor the US Foods picket lines. And props to all who helped Scrapper make ends meet. There's still time. Go to this Facebook page to help a fellow Teamster out.

Find out more about the strike at Show your solidarity with US Foods workers by "Liking" their Facebook page at USfoods Workersunited. See photos of the actions around the country here. And follow the strike on twitter at #USFoodsWorkers.