PLYMPTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Police in Plympton made “approximately 16-20” arrests on Monday as the department said it tried to restore order during an ongoing labor dispute at the Sysco Food Distribution plant.
In a press release, the department said some 400 Teamsters union members arrived at the plant earlier in the morning, where workers have been striking since Oct. 1.
As the morning went on, officers entered negotiations with picket line leaders after Teamsters allegedly blocked both entrances to the facility with tractor-trailers, with a hundred employees inside at the time.
Citing a need to create a “safe passable environment,” Plympton Police started removing members of the crowd who “were inciting a hostile picket line,” according to the press release. Law officials said somewhere between 16 and 20 arrests were made, with alleged charges ranging from Disorderly Conduct to Assault and Battery.
Following the arrests, Police Chief Matthew Ahl said order was restored as traffic resumed at the facility.
As 7NEWS previously reported, hundreds of workers started striking outside of the Sysco facility in Plympton at midnight on Oct. 1, after contract negotiations fell through. More than 300 workers walked off the job and went on strike due to contract changes, including the removal of both union health insurance and union pension benefits.
Demonstrators said they had been mistreated after several years of working hard during the pandemic.
“I’ve heard stories of people watching body bags getting brought out while they’re making deliveries with foods and essential goods,” Bryan Voci, Teamsters Local 653 Business Agent said earlier in the month. “It’s just, it’s crazy because two years ago they were heroes, you’re essential workers, you’re the most important people keeping this country running, and then how quickly these multi-million dollar companies forget about that.”
Police had previously worked out a system with the strikers, allowing them to stop trucks driven by non-union drivers for two to five minutes to get their message across, but then have to let them go.
Following Monday’s arrests, Chief Ahl said the situation remained “fluid” as the department continues to monitor the strike.
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