Union leaders urge dialogue over Sysco, US Foods merger

Dec. 17, 2013

James P. Hoffa, general president of union organization International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has issued a statement regarding last week's announcement of Sysco's $3.5B acquisition of US Foods.

"Sysco and US Foods should sit down now with stakeholders — including labor — to build a company that supports workers, protects customers and receives the government's blessing," Hoffa said. "Taking the high road now, by choosing a strategic partnership with its workers and their representatives, could improve the company's competitive performance."

The Teamsters are the largest union at each company with more than 7,000 members at Sysco and more than 4,000 at US Foods. Teamsters hold nearly 100 contracts across both companies, many of which will be expiring and renegotiated over the next year, according to a news release.

The transaction is expected to conclude in late 2014. The combined company, according to Sysco executives, is expected to control 25 percent of the foodservice market.

"Teamsters, who are the face of Sysco and US Foods to their customers, are the foundation of these companies' success," said Steve Vairma, Teamster Warehouse division director and International Vice President. "These men and women will be critical in building Sysco's future, in maintaining and growing its customer base. Management should work with labor now to ensure a seamless transition."

Dozens of metropolitan areas are currently home to both Sysco and US Foods, causing union members to raise questions about the effects of consolidation.

"Too often transactions like this are crafted to benefit the few, the 1 percent, without regard to workers or customers. Making good choices now by engaging major stakeholders will obviously pay big dividends as this transaction moves ahead," Hoffa said. "We are prepared for a dialogue about ways to protect working families at these companies. And we're prepared to stand up for them as this deal unfolds."

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