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BCS strike ends as Teamsters offer to return to work

The following is from Teamsters Local 231:

BELLINGHAM (July 15, 2021) — Teamsters Local 231 members employed at Bellingham Cold Storage (BCS) have offered an unconditional return to work, ending their current Unfair Labor Practice strike after 14 days. This decision was made largely to benefit the local community, which was seeing catastrophic impacts as a result of BCS management’s decision to attempt to operate with an unskilled strike replacement workforce. Many of the businesses that rely on BCS for product storage and handling are small local operations, including the local food bank, without the resources to withstand the massive service failures.

Strikers picketing outside the Bellingham Cold Storage facility on July 1.

The Employer returned to the bargaining table with the Union and a Federal Mediator on July 12, 2021. During this mediation session, the Union offered a proposal that addressed many items that were important to the Employer and included economic proposals that are very much in line with the industry currently. The Employer moved from their most recent “last, best, and final” offer and presented the Union with a counteroffer, showing they are willing to continue negotiations.

Doug Thomas, BCS President and CEO, sent a letter to the employees following our mediation session stating that it is his intention to “bargain in good faith” and “to do right by our people.” Given these actions and statements by the Employer, and in an effort to begin to repair the overwhelming service failures to BCS customers caused by the poorly skilled, out-of-state replacement workers, the Teamster members offered to return to work without conditions imposed by the Employer.

“It is our sincere hope that with this good faith effort by the workers, Doug Thomas will be a ‘man of his word’ and follow through with his statements, and the Parties will be able to continue to bargain and compromise until an agreement is reached,” said Teamsters Local 231 Secretary-Treasurer Rich Ewing. “I would like to thank our members who held strong in solidarity on the picket lines for two weeks. You demonstrated incredible courage and strength, and now it is up to BCS management to do the right thing for you, your families, and this community.”

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