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Following an afternoon meeting on Dec. 12, the 163 warehouse workers and drivers on strike at United Natural Foods Inc.’s (UNFI) Auburn, Wash., distribution center made an unconditional good-faith offer to return to work, which was accepted by the wholesaler of natural and organic products.
The acceptance of the offer ended an often contentious three-day strike, during which unionized employees and the company sparred over such issues as whether UNFI had engaged in unfair labor practices and how much of a wage increase workers should receive. Negotiations between the union and Providence, R.I.-based UNFI are scheduled to resume Thursday, Dec. 20.
“We intend to hold UNFI to its stated commitment to return to the bargaining table and bargain a fair contract in good faith with its employees,” said Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Tuckwila, Wash.-based Teamsters Local 117.
Most Teamsters at UNFI honored the strike, which began Dec. 10, when picketing workers at the Auburn facility were joined by dozens of fellow members of the union from companies throughout the area’s grocery warehouse industry. Following UNFI's acceptance of workers’ offer to return to work, the picket lines were taken down.