BUFFALO, NY - Members of Teamsters Local 264 walked off the job Monday morning at the Sorrento Cheese plant in South Buffalo.
All 257 unionized workers went on strike at 5 a.m. Monday and began picketing outside the plant.
Members of the Local 264, International Brotherhood of Teamsters say they agreed to strike because of "Sorrento Cheese's unilateral imposition, effective 7/2/12 of inferior terms for health care coverage."
"Enough is enough. This fight is for our families and ourselves but also for the 99% of Americans who now live in constant fear of losing their health care coverage because they can no longer afford it. We have drawn the line and are not stepping back from it," said Joe Nowak, Teamsters Local 264 Business Agent.
Sorrento Lactalis issued this statement in response to the strike:
"Sorrento-Lactalis is disappointed that Teamsters Local 264 has commenced a strike at the company's South Park Plant in Buffalo New York, despite the company's competitive wage and benefit offer.
"The company has been negotiating a new labor contract with Teamsters Local 264 for several months, covering 257 hourly employees at its Buffalo plant. The company and the Union have negotiated a series of labor contracts dating back to 1996.
"At the request of the union, the company provided its final offer. This offer included a competitive package of healthcare benefits, improved wages, and other terms that benefit its employees.
"The union acknowledged that the company's final offer was made in good faith, but refused to submit this offer to its members for a vote. The union and the company agreed their negotiations were at impasse, and the company exercised its right under federal law to implement its final offer effective July 1, 2012.
"The company announced that it will continue production at its Buffalo Plant, supplemented by production at the company's largest facility in Nampa, Idaho.
"The company remains hopeful that the parties can reach agreement and remains committed to its long standing tradition of cheese making in the Buffalo community."