Plympton Police Make 16-20 Arrests in ‘Disorderly’ Strike at Sysco
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from Sysco spokesperson Shannon Mutschler.
PLYMPTON — Plympton police say they made more than a dozen arrests at the Sysco food distribution plant on Monday when crowds allegedly turned hostile and roads were blocked.
A release from Plympton Police Chief Matthew Ahl stated that over 400 members of the teamsters union showed up early Monday morning and blocked both entrances to the Spring Street facility with tractor trailers, preventing 100 employees inside from leaving.
According to the release, police tried to negotiate with the picket line leaders for more than two hours before starting to make arrests.
Ahl wrote that members of the crowd were "inciting a hostile picket line" and compromising safety.
Around 16-20 people were arrested and charged with a variety of offenses ranging from disorderly conduct to assault and battery.
Traffic flow was restored to the Sysco facility entrance after the arrests were made, according to police.
Members of the Teamsters union have been on strike since late last month amid disputes of what union workers say are unfair wages and other labor grievances.
Another strike in Syracuse, N.Y. ended after an agreement was reached and a new contract ratified yesterday, WWNY-TV reports.
Plympton police said officers will continue to monitor the situation amid the ongoing labor dispute at the local Sysco facility.
According to police, there is "still no danger to the public or any threat to public safety."
"We have been steadfast in our desire to keep everyone safe and we have not had to make arrests until today," Ahl noted in the release.
Police did not disclose any further information.
Some commenters on a Plympton Police Facebook post about the incident accused members of the crowd that morning of harassment and vandalism, with many also expressing support for the strike and others for the police.
Sysco spokesperson Shannon Mutschler said in a statement that most people arrested in Plympton were not Sysco employees, but that the company remains committed to reaching a competitive labor agreement.
"While we are disappointed in the Teamsters leadership's ongoing decision to have our employees out on strike without letting them vote, we respect their right to do so under the law," the statement read.
"What we can't respect is violence, disorderly conduct, intimidation, or threats, on or off the strike line, targeting our employees, vendors, customers, or the public."
Mutschler added, "We appreciate the quick and effective response by our local authorities in bringing the incidents under control, as well as the men and women committed to continuing to serve our customers and the community."
Representatives from Teamsters Local 653 could not immediately be reached for comment.