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Restaurant supply company’s workers on strike

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than 300 employees of Sysco Indianapolis and Sysco Louisville are on strike in response to the unfair labor practices after weeks of contract negotiations with management.

Michael Bonner, a Sysco driver and a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the labor union which represents Sysco workers, says that they are simply asking to be compensated fairly for their work.

“The company would rather put its employees and customers in a negative situation than just compensate us fairly,” Bonner said in a statement issued Monday.

Bonner and his co-workers organized with their branch of Teamsters, Local 89, in August, overcoming an anti-union campaign from Sysco. Since then, management has failed to negotiate with the 100 delivery drivers.

Brian Thomas, one of the workers on strike at Sysco Indianapolis, says he and other Teamsters are done with the company’s disregard for its workers.

“We’re tired of being taken advantage of and we are seriously concerned about benefits, workplace safety, and work-life balance,” Thomas said in a statement.

Workers at both locations voted unanimously to organize a strike over this weekend.

Avral Thompson, Local 89 president and International Central Region vice president, said in a statement, “The Teamsters are not afraid of Sysco. We’re ready to do whatever it takes to get these folks the contract they deserve.”

Sysco, a food wholesale company that provides many restaurants in Indianapolis and other parts of the country with food, equipment, and supplies for their locations, faces multiple national investigations for violating U.S. labor laws, according to the Teamsters.

The Teamsters say they are working to negotiate fair contracts with several Sysco locations, as hundreds of workers are either without a contract or working on contracts that will expire because of management’s failure to bargain.

“We are going to hold greedy employers accountable. If Sysco didn’t learn its lesson last October, then we will remind them again this spring,” said Tom Erickson, director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division, in the statement.

A Sysco spokesperson sent a statement to News 8 on Monday night.

“Both Sysco Indianapolis and Sysco Louisville are committed to driver and warehouse colleagues and to the negotiation process. Our offers to the local union committees reflect that commitment as well as our respect for our colleagues. That’s why in Indianapolis, for example, our offer includes top of market wages, lower healthcare costs and more vacation.

“Both sites have implemented contingency plans to quickly ramp up operations to serve our customers despite the Teamsters leadership’s actions to disrupt deliveries to hospitals, nursing homes, schools and local small businesses. In addition, Sysco Indianapolis has also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board contesting Local 135’s bad faith bargaining actions.”

Sycso spokesperson