More than 130 Chicago-area union drivers at US Foods went on strike this week following over a month of unsuccessful negotiations for a new contract.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 705, whose collective bargaining agreement with the company expired Dec. 29, said the food distributor had failed to meet workers’ demands.
“Now, the company must bear the consequences of their inaction,” said Juan Campos, Local 705 secretary-treasurer and international vice president at-large. “Our members will remain on the streets until US Foods gets serious in negotiations.”
US Foods expressed its disappointment, “given our commitment to ongoing negotiations, which resumed this week, and the highly competitive offerings our drivers currently receive,” in an emailed statement to Trucking Dive.
The company has brought in a temporary workforce to support customer deliveries and business continuity, a spokesperson said.
“We remain open to productive negotiations to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that recognizes the contributions of our hard-working associates, and out of respect for the law and the negotiations process,” the company said. “We will continue to focus our efforts at the bargaining table.”
The work stoppage, which began Monday, followed a vote by union workers to authorize a strike in November. It came just days after 160 US Foods drivers unionized under Teamsters Local 853 in California.
“The Teamsters are at critical moment with this company. All across the country, workers at US Food are rising up, taking action, and demanding change,” said Tom Erickson, director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division and international vice president of the Teamsters Central Region.
"California workers were sick of the disrespect and came together to win a union voice, and we told the company what would happen if they failed to meet our members' demands in Chicago. US Foods has brought this strike upon itself."