US: United Natural Foods blames Teamsters for talks failure

By Chris Mercer | 15 January 2013

Whole Foods Market supplier United Natural Foods has said it is disappointed not to have reached a deal with the Teamsters trade union in the two groups' latest talks.

Teamsters-affiliated workers remain on strike at the United Natural Foods (UNFI) site in Auburn, Washington State. The dispute began over alleged abuse of labour rules and has expanded into accusations that the organic food supplier acted illegally by employing permancent replacements for striking workers.

Despite the potential detrimental effects on UNFI business, and on striking workers' income, no solution has been found after several rounds of talks.

Following the latest negotiations, UNFI said this week that the union rejected "a reasonable, good-faith offer" from the company.

"UNFI will continue to stay focused on executing our mission of meeting the needs of our customers in the Seattle marketplace," said UNFI group president, Sean Griffin.

Earlier this month, local UNFI customer PCC Natural Markets wrote to the company urging it to find a solution to the dispute, and warning that it would seek out alternative suppliers.

Show the press release

UNFI Comments on Teamsters Local 117 Union Situation

AUBURN, Wash., Jan. 11, 2013 – United Natural Foods, Inc., said today that it is
disappointed that members of Teamsters Local 117 rejected its latest offer. After a
bargaining session with the union last week and after several discussions with the
union’s leadership leading up to today’s vote, UNFI was optimistic a contract would be
ratified.

“UNFI will continue to stay focused on executing our mission of meeting the needs of our
customers in the Seattle marketplace,” commented Sean Griffin, UNFI Group President.
“We regret the union’s timing of this strike, and that it continues, particularly because of
the impact this strike has had on our associates and their families in Auburn.”

UNFI has historically had a good working relationship with Teamsters Local 117 for
the last 22 years, and its approach at all times in the negotiations has been to work
collaboratively to ensure it reaches an agreement that is in the best interest of its
associates, its customers and its business.

Original source: https://www.unfi.com/Pages/default.aspx

Sectors: Financials

Companies: United Natural Foods, Whole Foods Market

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