OLATHE, Kan.—Truck drivers at the giant Sysco food-service company’s Olathe, Kansas, distribution center went on strike at 4
a.m. Nov. 16 “after management allegedly threatened reprisals for the workers’ union activity,” Teamsters Local 41 announced. The more than 40 drivers in this Kansas City suburb had voted to join the union more than three years ago, but don’t yet have a contract because the company has failed to bargain in good faith, Steve Vairma, a Teamsters international vice president and head of its Warehouse Division, said in a statement released by the union. “We are on strike to send a message to Sysco that its mistreatment of workers must stop now,” driver Yakov Noykhovich said. “There is no excuse, none whatsoever, for Sysco management’s flagrant violations of workers’ rights simply because workers seek the security of a Teamster contract,” Vairma said. “This company’s number-one position in the market is built on the backs of more 8,600 Teamster members who service Sysco customers in virtually every major metropolitan market.” The company is facing federal investigations of unlawful surveillance, threats, discrimination, and terminations of union supporters in Kansas, Florida, California, South Carolina, Michigan, and Washington, the union added.