US: United Natural Foods workers back on strike

By Dean Best | 18 December 2012

Staff at a United Natural Foods depot in Washington state remain on strike after reigniting protests against the US food distributor.

Workers at the UNFI site in Auburn had ended their industrial action over pay and alleged violations of labour laws on Wednesday (12 December) after a three-day walkout.

Talks between the Teamsters union and UNFI had been scheduled for this Thursday but workers went back out on strike late last week and protests continued yesterday.

The Teamsters union said UNFI had replaced 72 warehouse staff who had taken part in the action. Under US labour law, staff holding industrial action over unfair labour practices cannot be permanently replaced, the union said.

"The company's action to replace its employees is retaliatory, unlawful and frankly despicable," Teamsters official Tracey Thompson said.

UNFI, which supplies natural and organic food to retailers including Whole Foods Market, said it had had to bring in staff from outside the depot as a result of the union's decision to continue the strike.

The distributor said it had used staff from other sites and hired 72 replacement workers.

"The Union was well aware that a strike at the busiest time of the year would leave UNFI no choice but to hire replacement associates so we could continue to serve our customers. Yet the Union chose to put its own interests over the interests of its membership and ordered a strike," UNFI president Sean Griffin said on Friday. "The Union has continued to mischaracterise UNFI by falsely blaming the company for the consequences of their decision."

Sectors: Natural & organic, Retail

Companies: UNFI, Whole Foods Market

View next/previous articles

Currently reading -

US: United Natural Foods workers back on strike

There are currently no comments on this article

Be the first to comment on this article

Related research

Whole Foods Market: The biggest retailer of organic and natural foods in the world

Whole Foods Market has a strong emphasis on perishable foods, designed to appeal to natural and organic food shoppers. It aspires to become an international brand synonymous with natural and organic foods, and the highest quality food retailer in eve...

Related articles

US: Billionaire Burkle "in talks to buy Fresh & Easy"

US billionaire investor Ron Burkle is reportedly in discussions to buy Tesco's US chain Fresh & Easy.

Talking shop: Amazon's fresh step in fledgling US online grocery

Amazon has made another stride in taking on US food retailers with the roll out of its fresh grocery business into the second most populous city in the US, Los Angeles. The move is sure to make other players in the market sit up and take notice but will it be enough to really shake up the US online grocery channel and give it the much needed boost it requires? Michelle Russell takes a look.

Comment: Amazon looks to take bigger bite of online grocery

Online retail giant Amazon is said to be preparing to take on the well-established US food market with a major roll-out of its fresh grocery business, a move that could make other players sit up and take notice.

Welcome to the home of food information, insight & intelligence

Not a member? Join here

Decrease font sizeDecrease font sizeDecrease font size Increase font sizeIncrease font sizeIncrease font size Comment on this article Email this to a friend Print this page