UPDATE (Jan. 29, 2013) — This event has been CANCELLED. If it is rescheduled, we’ll let you know.
(Jan. 27, 2013) — Since Dec. 10, more than 160 drivers and warehouse workers employed at United Natural Foods Inc. distribution center in Auburn have been on an unfair labor practice strike. These employees, represented by Teamsters Local 117, are seeking a fair contract. During the nine months of negotiations that preceded the strike, the company stands accused of refusing to bargain in good faith, worker surveillance, intimidation and retaliation.
The strike is taking an enormous financial toll on the workers and their families. All workers have lost their health insurance coverage and many are unable to pay the rent, put food on the table, and pay their basic utilities.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, all union members and community supporters are invited to attend a Happy Hour Benefit in Seattle to support the workers on strike at UNFI. It will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Twilight Exit, 2514 E. Cherry St. Organized by the workers of the Central Co-op, 25% of all beer and alcohol sales will go to the UNFI Workers Support Fund, plus the Twilight Exit will match that amount!
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s event, please consider donating to the UNFI Workers Support Fund online.
After just a couple of days on the picket line, the UNFI workers unconditionally offered to return to work while contract negotiations resumed. UNFI management accepted the offer, but subsequently announced that it would permanently replace 72 of the workers so the strike resumed.
In federal mediation, Teamsters Local 117 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. According to the union, the proposal UNFI management then put forward refused to reinstate the 72 workers it permanently replaced in violation of federal law, weakened health care coverage and undermined their employees’ retirement security. On Jan. 11, the proposal was rejected by a 104-26 vote and the strike continues.
For more information about the UNFI strike, including other ways you can support the workers, visit the UNFI Driven By Greed website.