PLYMPTON -- Plympton Police said between 16 and 20 arrests were made Monday morning outside the Sysco Food Distribution plant. Truck drivers there have been on strike since.
Early Monday, more than 400 local and national teamster unions arrived at the facility, police said.
Police allow the union workers to protest in front of leaving trucks for a couple of minutes before letting each one through. But on Monday, protesters said it got a little rowdy.
"Minor accident down there, it was nothing severe. At the end of the day, the officers in Plympton and the surrounding towns used common sense in what they did and took the people out that were being a little too boisterous," said union member Trevor Ashley.
According to police, the union members blocked both entrances to the facility with tractor-trailers for more than two hours, making it impossible for any of the 100 workers in the facility to leave. After failing to negotiate with them, "we had to respond by removing members of the crowd who were inciting a hostile picket line," police said.
The arrests range from disorderly conduct to assault and battery.
"A fair day's pay for a fair day's work that's all we want," said Ashley.
The teamsters said they're asking for the same wages as other trucking and delivery companies and have been in contact with Sysco drivers around the country to compare contracts.
"I'm hoping that Sysco comes to their senses and comes up to the numbers that we need to be at just so that we can live a comfortable life, we don't have to struggle paycheck to paycheck to paycheck," Ashley said.
There is no threat to the public, police said. They will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day.
This is the first time there have been any arrests during the strike. According to Sysco, the majority of people arrested were not Sysco employees.
Sysco sent a statement to WBZ-TV saying: "Throughout the negotiations process, Sysco Boston has remained committed to achieving a competitive labor agreement for our employees and our Company. 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. 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. We appreciate the quick and effective response by our local authorities in bringing the incidents overnight under control, as well as the men and women committed to continuing to serve our customers and the community."
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