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United Natural Foods strike ends; contract talks scheduled

The following was distributed late Wednesday by Teamsters Local 117:

AUBURN (Dec. 12, 2012) — At approximately 3:30 p.m. today, 163 warehouse workers and drivers on strike at United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) made an unconditional, good-faith offer to return to work.  The workers collectively made the decision after a 2 p.m. meeting at the Teamsters building in Tukwila.

With the employer’s acceptance of the workers’ offer, the strike officially ended at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.  The picket lines at the UNFI distribution center in Auburn were taken down at that time.

Negotiations between the Union and UNFI are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.

“We are pleased to announce the end of the strike.  We intend to hold UNFI to its stated commitment to return to the bargaining table and bargain a fair contract in good-faith with its employees,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.

The overwhelming majority of Teamsters at UNFI honored the 3-day strike, which began on Monday evening as a result of numerous unfair labor practice charges filed against the company.  Picketing workers at UNFI were joined by dozens of their fellow Teamsters throughout the grocery warehouse industry, including workers from Seattle Cold Storage, and the Unified Grocers, Fred Meyer, and Safeway distribution centers.

“The strike sent a strong message to UNFI that it needs to respect its workers and respect the bargaining process. My co-workers and I felt it was important to send that message, but also to keep the strike short so that we would minimize the disruption and inconvenience to our customers during the holiday season,” said Chris Tarrats, a driver who has worked at UNFI for 6 years.

For more information, visit the Teamsters Local 117 website.

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