US Foods Union Strike Impacts School Cafeterias

The Detroit Public Schools Community District announced on June 10 that it is facing a food shortage due to striking union drivers, CBS News reported.

In early January, the Teamsters Local 705 announced that its members unanimously voted to strike. The union represents drivers from the Chicago-based US Foods which supplies food to school districts in Michigan and Indiana.

During a policy conference at the Motor City Casino in Detroit on January 11, Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the district relied on US Foods as its main food supplier, and the distributor had “some issues” due to the drivers’ strike.

Vitti said while he hoped the strike would be resolved quickly, the school district was developing a backup plan. He said all students would continue to receive breakfast and lunch but “the menu will be lighter.”

In a January 10 statement posted to the district’s website, Vitti informed parents that the driver strikes were causing “significant” disruption and preventing the regular volume of food from being delivered to the district.

According to Vitti, the district was seeking alternative food vendors to ensure that schools were providing “basic meals” to students. He assured parents that “regular food access” would be restored within two weeks.

WTHR reported that some school districts in Indiana were also experiencing delays in food deliveries due to the strike’s impact on US Foods.

According to Indiana School Nutrition Association President Courtney FitzSimons, about 30 percent of Indiana schools get deliveries from US Foods.

FitzSimons told WTHR that school districts were seeing two- to three-day delays in receiving deliveries of food.

Some Indiana school districts are placing orders well in advance in anticipation of delays, according to the Lafayette, Indiana Journal & Courier.

The strike was approved after Local 705’s contract with US Foods expired in late December.