Arizona Teamsters on strike against US Foods

Arizona Teamsters on strike against US Foods

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona Teamsters who drive for US foods are on strike.

US Foods is a service company that delivers food, cleaning supplies and other items to its clients.

The strike started Thursday afternoon.

Twenty two drivers are on strike in Tucson, and another 200 are on the picket lines in Phoenix.

The strike has also been extended to southern California.

Union representatives said the drivers, mechanics and warehouse workers have been without a contract since October 2015.

Restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and military bases are among those that get deliveries from US Foods.

Some of the companies that contract with US Foods told Tucson News Now that they're being assured they'll get their deliveries.

Teamsters members said the reason for the walkout is based on the union's allegations of unfair labor practices against the US Foods for bargaining in bad faith and for discrimination against its union workforce.

"We had negotiations with the company about three weeks ago. They kind of stalled and there's been no new dates submitted. We're open to the new dates. Were open to continued negotiations and again in an effort to reach a settlement or reach a fair contract," said Teamsters Local Union 104 Business Representative Kevin "K. T." Thomas.

A Davis-Monthan Air Force Base spokesman said the chain restaurants on base use US Foods but that, according to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service that operates the restaurants, they "don't anticipate any disruption in services."

US Foods is one of the Tucson Unified School District's major vendors, supplying juices and other beverages.

TUSD officials said they can use other vendors or change menus to deal with any issues, but it appears they won't have to this time.

Tucson Medical Center officials said the same.

TUSD officials said US Foods has assured the district that it will be back up to 100 percent by Monday, because it had a contingency plan in place.

"At this point I feel comfortable that they have it under control and that they are putting their contingency plan in place at US Foods. And they did say they would let us know if there were any problems, but I think that we'll always follow up and do a double check," said TUSD Food Services Director Shirley Sokol.

Union members said there have been 18 bargaining sessions.

They are hoping for 19, and a way to end the strike

Tucson News Now reached out to US Foods and received this statement"

"We're disappointed that our represented employees at our Phoenix Distribution Center have chosen to take these actions, despite our ongoing efforts to work with the union to reach an agreement.

Our priority right now is on ensuring that we can continue to serve our customers with minimal disruption. We remain open to having productive negotiations with the union to reach resolution in this issue."

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