Teamsters working with US Foods (USF) are considering walk-offs and work stoppages at distribution centers throughout the East Coast.
USF is being accused of unfair labor practices and the violation of federal labor laws. Those accusations have subsequently led to an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board, who will be looking for any truth behind the accusations of, “illegal terminations, unilaterally changing working conditions and bargaining in bad faith with union representatives.”
Todd Robertson, President of Teamsters Local 171 in Salem, Va, represents drivers in USF’s Salem distribution center. He states that the workers there have been negotiating for fair employment for nearly a year. They and many other Teamster locals have warned that they will not hesitate to strike if the alleged violations continue.
This, of course, comes at a time when the food distribution system is trying to recover. First it was Covid that reduced workers in USF warehouses. Then came the retirements. Add to that the driver shortage, and it is then little wonder why orders are inaccurate, late, or simply don’t show up.
Labor shortages around the East Coast got so bad that USF had to start shipping in workers and drivers from other parts of the country. Sign-on bonuses were offered at the amount of $15,000 for drivers. But despite those efforts, many warehouses continue to work short of pickers and drivers.
Now, despite the outcome, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters know where they stand, and if that leads to strikes not just on the East Coast, but throughout the country, we could be headed for more supply chain headaches.