DENVER — A strike is underway at Denver’s Sysco plant. The company distributes food to restaurants, school, hospitals, and other organizations.
Teamsters Local #455 and their 300-plus members walked off the job Sunday night over a dispute with management over new rules regarding delivery and production.
“Sysco foods is the largest food distributor in North America. We deliver to hospitals, restaurants and schools,” Herb Whitaker, the Teamsters’s spokesman, said Monday.
In Denver – the teamsters w/@Sysco (refrigeration delivery) are on strike. Walked off last night around 6pm. Around 350 workers. Dispute is not over pay but over safety issues with drivers. Non union supervisors still driving – will be interesting to see impact on restaurants etc pic.twitter.com/c7nBuHk5np
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) November 18, 2019
“This is not a pay dispute,” Whitaker said. “It’s over many safety issues. They want to put production standards on our drivers which we feel will put the general public’s safety at risk.”
Throughout the day Monday, Sysco continued to conduct deliveries by non-union supervisors, FOX31 has learned.
At one point, Denver police were brought in to ensure union members did not block trucks from leaving the plant.
Monitoring the strike is the Colorado Restaurant Association. As of Monday, no restaurants reported an impact, but longtime restaurateur Lee Goodfriend said the entire industry will be monitoring this strike.
“Restaurants could run out of food,” Goodfriend said. “There are other places to get food but it’s a big deal to lose your biggest company without knowing it is going to happen.”
Sysco issued the following statement:
“At Sysco, we value our teams and have a long history of working collaboratively with our unions. Since we began negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 455, we have met on multiple occasions, working in good faith to negotiate a contract. Throughout our negotiations, we have offered wages and benefits that are competitive. We are committed to continued constructive discussions to ensure an outcome that best positions our associates, customers and the Company for long-term success.”