Sysco workers strike for better working conditions and quality of life

Warners, N.Y. – – More than 200 Sysco workers in Syracuse continue to strike demanding better pay and quality of life.

“It’s not all economic like they try to make it out to be… you want to be able to have the energy to go do things on the weekends,” said Gary Williams, who walked out of his job at Sysco three weeks ago to strike.

Despite Sysco offering wage increases with bonuses, healthcare and welfare benefits, Williams is not willing to settle without getting consecutive days off. 

These workers currently work 14 hours a day. Sysco is giving them two days off every week but they are spread apart. These workers want consecutive days off. 

“It’s great to be a provider, but it’s better to be a dad,” Williams said. He said he is standing there so that future workers at Sysco don’t have to miss out on their family milestones as he did over the past 25 years.

Sysco Syracuse distributes over 10,000 food items, consisting of meat, poultry, seafood, produce, dairy, frozen, beverage, dry and canned food products to restaurants, schools, and hospitals across Central New York.

Sysco has currently stopped delivering food supplies to small restaurants and is prioritizing schools and hospitals.

However, small restaurants that rely on Sysco to get their food are suffering as a result of this strike.

“It’s difficult for us restaurants to get stuff anyway, you just add it to the burden,” said Michael Nevill, the owner of Westvale Fish Cove. 

Despite the inconveniences, some Sysco customers are supportive of the workers picketing outside. Generous customers are even leaving food, water and donations for the workers on strike.

The workers’ strike that originated from Syracuse is now spreading to Sysco distribution centers across the country including Plympton, Massachusetts and Arizona.