AUBURN (Jan. 15, 2013) — In federal mediation last week, Teamsters Local 117, the union representing 168 warehouse workers and drivers on strike at United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), encouraged the company to put its best foot forward and present workers with a reasonable contract proposal that would put an end to the month-long strike. UNFI committed to present a proposal.
Unfortunately, instead of making a reasonable good-faith offer that workers could accept, UNFI presented a proposal that left workers with no choice but to reject it, which they did by a 104-26 vote on Jan. 11. The offer:
- Refused to reinstate all 72 workers that UNFI permanently replaced in violation of federal law;
- Eliminated health care protections for workers by removing caps on premium increases;
- Insisted on the withdrawal of all of the union’s Unfair Labor Practice charges and important grievances;
- Undermined workers’ retirement security;
- Fired a worker for alleged strike misconduct and insisted that the union relinquish its right to take action against replacement workers who violated their membership obligations.
“UNFI’s latest contract proposal shows that the company is not genuinely interested in resolving the dispute,” Teamsters Local 117 reports at its website. “Instead, in presenting an offer that had no chance of success the Company appears to be intent on dividing workers, maximizing profits, and destroying the Union. That is not a responsible position for any company to take, especially one that touts ‘social responsibility’ and ‘sustainability’ as UNFI does.”
TAKE A STAND! Here’s what you can do to support UNFI workers:
1) Make plans to attend an IMPORTANT COMMUNITY MEETING on Saturday, Jan. 19 to discuss the ongoing labor dispute at UNFI. The meeting, which will involve union members, faith leaders, community co-op activists and other concerned community members, will take place at the Teamsters Building, 14675 Interurban Ave S., in Tukwila starting at 10 a.m. Your can RSVP for the meeting here. Please contact Brenda Wiest at 206-441-4860 ext. 1256 for more information.
2) In order for workers to continue their fight, they need your support. Please donate to the Teamsters 117 UNFI Workers’ Hardship Fund today! The UNFI Workers’ Hardship fund was established by Teamsters Local 117 to benefit striking workers and their families. All proceeds from the fund go directly to the families of workers with the greatest financial need. Your donations will help a worker pay the rent, keep the lights on, and put food on the table.
3) Visit the strike line to show your solidarity with the UNFI workers. It is located at 22 30th St NE in Auburn.
For more information, visit www.UNFIDrivenByGreed.com.