(TUKWILA, Wash.) –– After months of concessionary proposals and stonewalling on the part of the company, Teamsters Local 117 and Local 174 members working at Veritiv now stand on the brink of a strike. The workers, who warehouse and deliver paper, packaging and janitorial supplies throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond, voted unanimously to authorize a strike on December 8.
The two work groups have been working without a contract since the end of September 2018, as their employer has continued to slow-walk negotiations with the Teamsters. Veritiv management set a negative tone to the negotiations before they even began, by insisting that the two local unions bargain separately rather than jointly for the first time in decades. Leadership of both local unions opted to remain in solidarity by attending all of each other’s negotiating sessions with Veritiv.
Now that both local unions have submitted their 10-day notice to terminate their contracts with Veritiv, economic action is likely as soon as April 17. A strike by Veritiv employees would have a deep impact on local businesses – especially Boeing and UPS, both of whom have large contracts with Veritiv to deliver their paper and packaging products.
“Veritiv management came to the negotiating table with a goal, which was to split us apart and then step on us separately. Today’s actions show they have not been successful at achieving that goal,” said Teamsters Joint Council 28 President Rick Hicks. “We are all standing together and telling Veritiv clearly: they need to bargain in good faith and get our members a fair contract, or we will take our fight to the street.”