The ballots were counted on September 13th, 2019 for the Sysco NM Tentative Agreement (T/A). The T/A passed with 63% voting to ratify the contract by a vote of 79 to 46 with 86% of eligible members voting. We want to thank all the Sysco Members who voted and congratulate them on their new contract. Teamsters Local 492 would also like to thank the JC#3 President Steve Vairma, and IBT representatives Tamlya Edwards, Denny Toland, Sean Rudolph, Tom Erickson, Dave Hawely, Kathy Tiihonen, Michael Manley and all of the 492 committee members that helped negotiate the new agreement.
This was a long battle and we want to thank members for their patience while we worked to get an agreement. Local 492 Staff started preparing for this Sysco battle in October of 2018, which included getting the IBT involved. Before our first meeting with the stewards in December, Local 492 B/A’s Trey White, Tracy McCarty and Melissa Malcom had already done a lot of work and research to get ready for the fight because of Sysco’s history with the union. Local 492 has negotiated 7 CBA’s this year but by far has put more time and resources into the Sysco CBA than any other 492 local agreement.
In December, we sent out proposal surveys to the Sysco Members and then in January, we held a proposal meeting with the Sysco members. IBT representatives Tamlya Edwards, Denny Toland and Sean Rudolph were present to answer questions about DIP/WHIP and negotiation preparation. In April, IBT Vice President Steve Vairma and Kathy Tiihonen joined us for two more meetings with the Sysco members to explain how to work under an expired contract. For the first time in 492’s history, Local 492 chose not to give the company a contract extension due to Sysco’s propensity to drag out negotiations. In June, Local 492 had another meeting with members and a strike authorization vote was taken (which was unanimous among the 57 Sysco Teamsters that showed up) due to the company not willing to budge on many items the members said were important to them. This seemed to help because Sysco’s attitude at the table quickly changed and we were able to make significant progress with the non-economic issues. In July, we attempted a practice picket, and had two sticker/button days. Two weeks later, we had a Tentative Agreement (T/A). Local 492 then had another meeting in July with the Sysco members to discuss the agreement and answer the members’ questions. The 25 members that attended informed us that they were not satisfied with the economic package.
In August, the Sysco members rejected the T/A by a vote of 44-29. When threatening a strike, this very low voting turnout (150 member unit) is a concerning issue for the Union because the Union needs full cooperation from all of the members to have a productive strike. Regardless of the voting participation issue, the 492 Teamster Committee Members knew we needed to get more from the company. Along with IBT representatives Sean Rudolph and Dave Hawley, the 492 committee met with the Company again in September and were able to secure a $500 signing bonus for members and a .90¢ wage increase in the first year for drivers, which is about double what they have received in previous contracts.
Communicating with the Sysco Members was a high priority for Local 492 and we tried to get as many members engaged in this fight as possible because we know that when all of the members are united, it sends a clear message to the company. We sent out dozens of email blasts and for the first time, Local 492 also text the members directly. From January thru July, Local 492 held 6 meetings with the members in ABQ and even traveled to the southern area of the state 3 times (March, July, and September) and twice in the northern area (July & September). The 492 Sysco Teamster Committee met with the Company 25 times over a 6 month period. Local 492 B/A’s had countless calls with the dozens of IBT experts to guide us a through this long journey.
After nearly a year between start and finish working on this CBA, we now have a ratified agreement. With 46 members still voting against the second tentative agreement, there are obviously some that believe there was more to get from Sysco. These members deserve every penny we can squeeze from Sysco and we made great progress during this negotiation, even if it wasn’t all everyone had hoped for. The key to putting pressure on companies like Sysco is the unified front from all of the members. We saw a lot of unity this year and we hope to build on that momentum in the future with these great Sysco members and at least double the member participation that we had this time around to get an even better contract next time.
Below are some of the highlights of the new agreement:
The New Ratified CBA will expire on April 25, 2025 and now includes a signing bonus of $500.00 for every fulltime employee (even those on DIP/WHIP).
The new wage package includes a record setting large increase upfront in the first year of .90¢ for Drivers and .70¢ for whse.
The company has also made a verbal commitment to correct loading issues regarding not giving drivers enough space around the back of the door and the freezer door so drivers can safely unload at their first stop.
We made a lot of headway getting some of the biggest issues addressed that the members, told us they had with their contract. Some of the issues resolved include;
- Several improvements to the vacation language, including: (1) An increase to 2 weeks’ vacation after only 6 months seniority, (2) a 5th week for those with 25 years or more, (3) The option to cash out all weeks of vacation, (4) Company will now cash out all unused vacation upon voluntary quit, retire, resign or layoff, (5) Paid vacation will now show as “time worked” when calculating overtime hours.
- Part-time employee’s improvements include preventing future overuse of using part-timers and terminating part-timers at will.
- The Union gave the Company the ability to post driver bids as single day (They are not forced to do so but now once again have the ability)
- The Company must now notify the Union before changing WHIP or DIP
- Increased the meal allowance for overnight drivers
- Added new language to the grievance procedure we hope will help better resolve issues that come up in the future.
- Added language to stop the abuse of supervisors working, including requirement to exhaust all those wanting overtime.
- Paid Holidays and Paid Vacations will now be included as “time worked” when calculating overtime hours.
- Multiple issues resolved regarding posting bids
- Posting overtime sheets
- Driver protection if bid is abolished
- Restructured night differential in the whse
- Extra break for whse employees working long hours