Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sysco, US Foods Teamsters rally for answers about their jobs

Sysco and US Foods Teamsters from IL, MO, WI, CO, AZ, CA, WA, IN, OH, TX
Sysco and US Foods Teamsters protested outside Sysco's shareholder meeting today in Houston and demanded to know if thousands of jobs will be cut if the two companies merge.

Sysco has made vague statements that 'all employees will become Sysco associates Day One' if the merger is approved.

Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall says the men and women who work for the two companies deserve to know what that means.

“Thousands of workers at Sysco and US Foods are concerned about their livelihoods," Hall said in a statement. "Will Sysco honor its existing collective bargaining agreements at both companies? How does it intend to save $600 million over the next four years, and will its loyal, long-term employees pay that price?”

Sysco’s planned merger with its only national competitor, US Foods, is still far from inevitable. The company has twice announced delays in closing the deal since it was announced in December 2013.

Steve Vairma is the Teamsters Warehouse Division Director, which represents 120,000 warehouse workers and nearly 12,000 at Sysco and US Foods. Vairma said,
It’s time Sysco clears the air. We are here to show the company that we will do whatever it takes to protect Teamsters employed at Sysco and US Foods.
The Federal Trade Commission is putting the deal under intense scrutiny. The transaction was structured by executives who stand to gain from it. No shareholder had a vote. The companies' workers and customers along with anti-monopoly groups warn the merger could significantly harm competition in U.S. markets.

Scott Laughlin, a Sysco employee, said,
Executives are poised to line their pockets from this merger, but we could lose our jobs and the company won’t even tell us if it plans to sell our warehouse or close it altogether.
Forty-six executives stand to pocket cash bonuses on completion of the merger. Chief Financial Officer Robert Kreidler has already cashed in $429,000 and will earn another $715,000 if the transaction closes. Three other executives will split nearly $1.5 million if the deal is approved.

In addition to the rally outside the annual meeting, several Teamsters inside the meeting raised concerns about the merger to Sysco’s senior executives and board members. Shelly Allsup, a Teamsters representative from San Diego, Calif., said:
Investors don't know what the composition of a newly combined company would look like. A possible anti-trust remedy from the FTC could call for divestitures from certain markets.