ELMIRA, NY (WETM)- Last night, at 9 p.m., over 200 Sysco Syracuse teamsters walked off the job in Syracuse to protest unfair labor practices. While this strike took place in Syracuse, it affects local restaurants here in Elmira.
18 News spoke with The Elbow Room to hear how this news is affecting them. “What this means for us is that we’re going to have to use our other suppliers to fill in the gaps of what we normally would get from Sysco,” says kitchen manager, Rodney Strange.
Strange has been the kitchen manager for 36 years and he says he was in shock when he woke up to the news this morning. Strange adding that there’s enough supply to last through the weekend but if the strike goes past Monday, issues will start to arise.
“I just want to assure people that we do not get our chicken wings from Sysco. We get them from a couple other suppliers,” says Strange, “Sysco does about 75% of our products, a lot of our ingredients and other things that we use a lot of our fried food.”
“I’ve been at Sysco for 33 and a half years. This is the first first strike I’ve ever dealt with, so it’s it’s all new to me and it’s new to all of us down here,” says Ray Locke, a driver for Sysco. Locke adds that they’ve been out of a contract since August 20th.
“We’ve worked throughout the pandemic. We were essential workers, we made our deliveries to all the nursing homes, hospitals, restaurants that are still open during the pandemic and this is the thanks they’re giving us we’re not getting what we feel is a fair contract,” adds Locke.
This strike not only threatens the supply chain for restaurants, it also affects the supply chain for prisons, hospitals and schools. 18 News reached out to DOCCS and Arnot Ogden for comment on this strike.
DOCCS saying quote, “There is no effect on State correctional facilities at this time. We are monitoring the situation and have developed a backup plan should deliveries cease and any shortages develop.”
Arnot saying in part, “Deliveries from Sysco are guaranteed. However, there might be some small delays.”
Sysco Syracuse also releasing a statement regarding the strike, saying in part quote “Sysco Syracuse offered wage increases that would place our associates at or above market, along with a $2,500 signing bonus, comprehensive health and welfare benefits and paid time off.”
Sysco Syracuse has positioned third-party resources to support the site while the strike is going on. At this time it is unclear when the strike may end. “We’re hoping that they come to their senses and get us a fair contract,” says Locke.