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Warehouse workers and drivers represented by Teamsters Local 117 have voted to ratify a five-year contract agreement with United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), ending a nine-week strike that began Dec. 10 at the wholesaler’s distribution center in Auburn, Wash.
Following the Feb. 7 vote, picket lines at the facility were removed. Warehouse workers and drivers are expected to report to work early next week.
The agreement provides for the reinstatement of all employees, including 72 who had been permanently replaced; health and welfare protections for workers; and wage increases. Additionally, under its terms, both sides have agreed to withdraw and not refile all pending Unfair Labor Practice claims.
“Workers at UNFI stood together courageously in difficult conditions to fight for dignity and respect,” said Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Tukwila, Wash.-based Local 117. “With the help of our community partners and a strong bargaining committee, workers were able to achieve a fair and just contract.”
“We appreciate the hard work and diligence of the negotiating teams and mediator in reaching a fair and equitable agreement, and now look to move forward together as a company,” noted Sean Griffin , group president of Providence, R.I.-based UNFI, which carries and distributes more than 65,000 products to more than 27,000 customer locations throughout the United States and Canada. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats, among them conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the foodservice channel.