Friday, February 8, 2013

9-week UNFI strike ends, good contract ratified

One day longer...

Great news from our brothers and sisters in Washington! We'll let them tell the story:

On Thursday, February 7, warehouse workers and drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 117, overwhelmingly voted to ratify a fully-recommended 5-year contract agreement with United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI).

The contract vote, which was held after a 3:30 p.m. meeting at the Teamsters building in Tukwila, officially ends the nine-week strike that started on December 10 at the company’s distribution center in Auburn, Wash. Picket lines at the facility were taken down at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Warehouse workers and drivers will report to work early next week.

The agreement provides for the reinstatement of all workers, including the 72 who had been permanently replaced, health and welfare protections for workers, and meaningful wage increases.

Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Local 117, said:
Workers at UNFI stood together courageously in difficult conditions to fight for dignity and respect. With the help of our community partners and a strong bargaining committee, workers were able to achieve a fair and just contract.
Local 117 members say they are ready to return to work. Robert Jurey, a warehouse worker and shop steward who has worked at UNFI’s Auburn facility for 13 years, said:
 Our customers are our number one priority. We look forward to getting back into the warehouse and back in our trucks so that we can continue to provide the highest-quality service to our customers.
Thompson thanked the many community partners for their unwavering support:
We are also deeply grateful to all of the individuals, unions, co-ops, small grocers, and other community organizations that took actions in solidarity with the striking workers and to those who donated to the hardship fund set up to provide workers with financial relief. Your generosity has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the 160 workers and their families who have been impacted by the strike.