Worker Strike Forces Restaurants to Find New Suppliers Worker Strike Forces Restaurants to Find New Suppliers

Alexa Gonzalez: Those are the Sysco employees that set the food industry on fire. leading strikes across the nation from Boston to Arizona, strike captain Gary Williams says they are protesting unfair labor practices.

Gary Williams: They keep picking up new business, when they can’t take care of the old business which is forcing us to work 50 to 60 hours a week.

Gonzalez: Restaurant owners just like the one’s here at PB&J’s are having to cross these picket lines to be able to supply their businesses needs. Just today alone, I saw owners driving in from Rochester and Brockport and the list goes on. Pat Orr owner of PB&J’s says it’s made getting product much harder.

Pat Orr: We put the same order in again for another day it got cancelled and we had to go pick em
up we put another order in and that got cancelled because they didn’t have enough staff to pull the order.

Gonzalez: Concerns about the food are being raised by strikers. Williams says Sysco customers are picking up their food in cars and driving hours with food that needs to be refrigerated or frozen. The strikers say they are in it for the long haul.

Williams: We wanna be working we don’t want this we don’t want this. I have family that owns
restaurants they support me even though they are mad.

Gonzalez: There is no solutions to the issue yet. But Williams says there is a meeting happening tomorrow morning at the Syracuse Union Hall.

Alexa Gonzalez N-C-C News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Some restaurant owners are being forced to drive hours in order to keep their businesses running. Driving all the way from Brockport to Rochester, owners are filling their cars, trucks and U-Hauls just to keep business going.

Sysco is a huge national food distribution company, that has factories across the United States and delivers to schools, restaurants etc.

Workers have been on strike since September 28th, and without a contract since August 20th, says 25 year Sysco worker and strike captain, Gary Williams.

Local restaurants were never notified there would be a strike or that orders would just be cancelled, according to Pat Orr, owner of PB&J’S Lunchbox Cafe. Orr had several orders cancelled before finally one being put through.


PB&J's Lunchbox Cafe outside of the building
One of the many businesses, who had to cross the picket lines to finally pick up their long awaited order after a week of waiting.
© 2022 Alexa Gonzalez

Sysco changed their order policies abruptly on owners. The company placed a 25 unit minimum restriction on orders, says Orr. One unit of food can be anything from two turkeys to six jars of marinara sauce.

“Your bill went from $400 to $1400, so you’re dishing out more money and you don’t have to go as often but it is not ideal,” says Orr.

This is not exclusive to Syracuse. Boston, Arizona, and Los Angeles have joined the fight against Sysco’s unfair labor practices, says Williams. The company was already understaffed but continued taking new orders they could not fulfill; forcing 50 to 60 hour work weeks on employees, says Williams.

“It’s a physical job and it’s just too much for people,” says Williams.

A meeting took place in Washington D.C. yesterday between Sysco Corporate and Teamster International, but nothing has been resolved yet.

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