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Discussions continue for better pay and benefits for Salem U.S. Foods drivers

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:55 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - “We want a company to work for that we can be proud of again,” said Kenny Chapman, a relay driver for U.S. Foods Inc. in Salem.

Better wages and benefits. That’s what more than 100 Salem U.S. Foods drivers are calling on their company to deliver.

”We have fought a long time for this. Many restless, sleepless nights,” said Chapman.

The frustration of not having these benefits is what led to the drivers joining the Teamsters Local Union 171 in June 2021.

“They came to us and said, hey, we need help, the company won’t listen to us, can you help us make the company listen? And we said absolutely,” said, Todd Robertson, the president of Teamsters Local Union 171.

Robertson said including Friday’s meeting, they have met with U.S. Foods representatives more than a dozen times since December. But the discussion continues to stall, which might lead to a driver walk-out.

“Honestly if we don’t get a deal done here, the company’s already been put on notice, the employees will be forced to walk out. It’s unfortunate, but it will happen,” said Robertson.

A U.S. Foods spokesperson issued a statement to WDBJ7 Friday afternoon:

“Negotiations are ongoing and we continue to make progress toward a mutually beneficial agreement that provides competitive wages and benefits and recognizes the contributions of our hard-working associates. We have a strong record of good-faith bargaining with unions and look forward to returning to the bargaining table soon.”

Teamsters chapters based out of Pennsylvania joined the U.S. Foods drivers, which they appreciated. The are keeping a positive mindset that a deal will get done.

“Once a deal does get done, I think we will be very satisfied, business as usual, let’s make money for the company, go on about our day, get home safe to our families, that’s all we want,” said Chapman.

As of Friday, a deal has not been reached and WDBJ7 will continue to update viewers as the story develops.

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