The Teamsters Union is saying Sysco's acquisition of US Foods announced last week raises serious concerns for workers, stakeholders and customers as the combined company becomes the country's largest institutional/restaurant food service provider and one of the nation’s largest private truck fleets.
Union president James Hoffa is calling on Sysco and US Foods to begin a national dialogue immediately with stakeholders to ensure a successful transaction.
"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 and holds nearly 100 contracts across both companies, many of which will be expiring and renegotiated over the next year.
The transaction, expected to conclude in late 2014, faces approval by the Federal Trade Commission. The combined company, according to Sysco executives, is expected to control 25% of the food service market.
The union claims customers this week expressed frustration about reduced competition among providers and are nervous about possible increased costs and quality of service. It says dozens of metropolitan areas are currently home to both Sysco and US Foods, raising questions for communities about the effects of consolidation and an anticipated $600 million in savings over three to four years on the workforce and employment in their areas.
"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."