On Oct. 1, drivers in New England went on strike at Sysco Foods. The company is a giant in food product distribution, supplying schools, restaurants, hospitals and more. Striking truck drivers outside the company’s Manchester, N.H., facility said the current offer from Sysco is unacceptable.
In a news report from WMUR News 9 in Manchester, Dave Remick, of Teamsters Local 653, said, “For them to come to the table and make the offer that they did is just a slap in the face.”
Remick, who has been driving for Sysco for 23 years, said drivers are asking for more competitive wages and a better quality of life, saying they work 12–14-hour days. He said Sysco also wants to replace the current health care insurance with a lesser option.
“We’re all standing strong,” Remick was quoted as saying. “We aren’t looking for anything more than we deserve or that anybody already gets in the industry. We are just looking for a fair shake.”
The drivers said they’ve stepped up during the pandemic and want the company to recognize that.
“We were here during COVID for these guys, and I would like them to be here for us now,” said driver Larry Staples. “We need things. Inflation is up. Everything costs more.”
A Sysco spokesperson told WMUR News 9 in an email that Sysco Boston drivers are making an average of $110,000 this year. The company said it’s offering a 25% wage increase over the life of the next contract. The spokesperson said that the new health care options will come at a lower cost to the drivers.
As of Oct. 6, Sysco said it has advised Local 653 that it’s available to continue bargaining.