Drivers with the largest natural and organic food supplier in the United States, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), overwhelmingly joined Local 853 in Oakland.
The 31 drivers based out of Gilroy, Calif. transport supplies for UNFI to major clients like Whole Foods, Amazon, Genentech, Sprouts and Google.
The drivers are seeking fair scheduling and compensation for excess hours, seniority for overtime, improvements to safety and a shorter wage progression, and other issues.
“We’re excited to welcome UNFI drivers to the Teamsters. There is a trend across the country of UNFI workers joining together and seeking Teamster representation,” said Dennis Hart, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 853.
“As companies become increasingly interconnected, as with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, it’s important that unions strategically organize and workers unite to better their working conditions,” Hart said.
Gilroy drivers seeking to organize with Local 853 received support and words of encouragement from Teamster UNFI drivers from Dayville, Conn., Hudson Valley, N.Y., Moreno Valley, Calif. and Auburn, Wash.
Teamster UNFI members from Local 63 in Covina, Calif., and Local 117 in Tukwila, Wash., traveled to meet with the UNFI workers in Gilroy to provide support and share their experiences with organizing and forming their union with the Teamsters.
“UNFI is the sixth largest grocery wholesaler in the U.S, and first in the organic and natural sector. The perseverance and commitment exhibited by UNFI workers is an example to all workers on what can be achieved by sticking together.
“We’re looking forward to continuing to represent and organize more workers in this sector,” said Steve Vairma, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.