Sysco strike could impede food supply in the Indy area

A Sysco Indianapolis truck attempting to make a delivery in downtown Indianapolis.

Nearly 200 unionized workers at food supplier Sysco Indianapolis walked off the job this week, which could impact food deliveries to numerous restaurants and other establishments in the Indy area.

Representatives of Teamsters Union Local 135 called for the labor stoppage, citing unfair labor practices and uneasiness over contract negotiations. Workers walked off the job last Monday.

Systems and Services Company, also known as Sysco, is a global leader in stocking and circulating food and non-food products to restaurants, cafes, schools, lodges, bars, diners, and others.

“We have had it with (Sysco Indianapolis) and their disregard for workers,” said striking worker Brian Thomas, who is responsible for processing at Sysco. “We’re tired of being taken advantage of and we are seriously concerned about benefits, workplace safety, and work-life balance.

Sysco Indianapolis on strike

Sysco Indianapolis is not the only Sysco location on strike. Union workers at Sysco Louisville, led by Teamsters Local 89, have mobilized against their employers.

“We’re asking to be compensated fairly for the hard work that we do,” said Michael Bonner, a driver for Sysco Louisville. “The company would rather put (Sysco workers and customers) in a negative situation than (to equally) compensate us.”

Many recipients of Sysco Indianapolis products have already expressed concern regarding the strike. “It’s an unfortunate situation,” said one food and beverage manager of a downtown Indy hotel and bar. “The strike is going to halt the delivery of a lot of produce and cleaning products for us.”

On a national level, Sysco faces a public backlash for allegedly violating several U.S. labor laws. Teamsters reps said the union is currently in talks with “several Sysco-branded locations across the country.” They also revealed that they are going to hold “greedy employers accountable.”

Sysco Indianapolis refused to comment on the ongoing strike.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or email at Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.