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Bellingham Cold Storage workers are out on strike — again

BELLINGHAM (July 2, 2021) — For the second time in a month, more than 100 Bellingham Cold Storage (BCS) workers represented by Teamsters Local 231 went on strike Thursday morning. These workers who are a critical part of the perishable food supply chain have been in contract talks since November 2020. The union reports that BCS management has repeatedly offered insulting proposals on wages, pension and health care. At one point, even amid a pandemic, management insisted that health care was a luxury their hardworking employees don’t deserve.

BCS workers conducted a 30-hour strike on June 18-19 after voting unanimously to authorize a strike. Following that action, BCS management agreed to return to the bargaining table with the assistance of a federal mediator, but the company has since refused multiple bargaining dates in an attempt to drag out the process even further. So now the union plans to stay out on strike until they get a contract offer worthy of recommendation to the membership, according to Teamsters Local 231 Secretary-Treasurer Rich Ewing.

TAKE A STAND — Show your support for striking BCS workers by joining them on the picket lines at 600 Orchard Dr. and 2825 Roeder Ave. in Bellingham. Also, contact BCS President/ CEO Doug Thomas at 360-733-1640 or or JGC Chairman Joshua (Jay) Green III at 206-622-0420 or using this web form. Tell them to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract that shows respect for their hard-working employees.

Managers from the company, which was recently bought by Seattle-based investment firm Joshua Green Corporation (JGC), initially proposed that BCS workers pay an absurd amount of their medical premiums out-of-pocket. JGC Executive Vice-President Aaron Singleton admitted the company’s goal was to invite government subsidies of their employees’ health care, saying “we want to incentivize our employees to seek other options for covering their dependents, such as Apple Health.”

In other words, they wanted wages so low and health benefits so unattainable that Washington taxpayers would have to subsidize their labor costs.

Although JGC has modified its medical proposal since then, the Teamsters bargaining team says the company’s wage and pension offers have been similarly insulting and have demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the work their employees perform each day.



► Today from the Bellingham Herald — Bellingham Cold Storage workers on strike. Here’s why. — More than 100 workers at Bellingham Cold Storage went on strike Thursday, July 1, protesting what they say is the company’s unwillingness to negotiate on a new contract. Workers with picket signs were at both the Roeder Avenue and Orchard Drive facilities after the strike started at 8 a.m. The workers plan on continuing the strike until the company shows a desire to negotiate, said Rich Ewing, secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters Local 231. About 115 people went on strike, with many of the positions involving forklift operations at the two cold storage facilities. The strike comes at a crucial time not just for the storage company, but for local berry farmers. The raspberry and blueberry harvests are underway and many of the high-quality berries are quick-frozen and stored in places such as BCS.

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!