US Foods Teamsters in New Jersey extended picket lines last night and early today, leading to more service disruptions for this company.
The sympathy pickets were in response to a strike Sunday at a US Foods warehouse in Streator, Ill.
More than 1,500 Teamsters have now honored picket lines this week at US Foods in St. Louis; Buffalo, N.Y.; Fishers, Ind.; Plymouth, Minn.; and Fife, Wash.
In the latest actions, Teamsters Local 1414 put up sympathy pickets at the US Foods warehouse in Swedesboro, N.J.; Teamsters Local 676 put up sympathy pickets at the US Foods warehouse in Bridgeport, N.J., and Teamsters Local 111 put up sympathy pickets at US Foods' Perth Amboy, N.J., warehouse.
These facilities feed thousands of restaurants and other customers in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. More than 700 Teamsters who work at those facilities refused to cross the picket lines.
The initial strike began when maintenance workers in Streator struck US Foods in response to the company's unfair labor practices, which included retaliating against employees for engaging in union activity. US Foods disciplined a Streator employee for being absent while he was in contract negotiations with the company as a member of the bargaining committee for Teamsters Local 722.
The Teamsters represent about 4,000 workers at 25 US Foods distribution centers throughout the United States.
Striking maintenance worker Mike Vagasky, who works in Streator, traveled to St. Louis and to Fishers, Ind., this week to extend picket lines to the US Foods warehouses there.
"I've worked at US Foods for 28 years," Magasky says.
"I don't want to strike, but after KKR and CD&R purchased the company, they have done nothing but bully, harass, and intimidate us. These top 1 percent private equity companies are destroying jobs all over America. As a worker, I'm part of the 99 percent who are sick of being treated this way."
US Foods, which distributes food and related products to restaurants, military bases and hospitals, is owned by private equity giants KKR and CD&R.