Drivers Continue to Demand Full Compliance with New York and CDC COVID-19 Regulations
(HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y.) – Teamster drivers who are members of Teamsters Local 445 ratified a collective bargaining agreement with grocery distributor UNFI on Sunday, November 8, 2020.
UNFI is one of the largest food distributors in the New York metro area and the largest supplier to Whole Foods nationwide. Its main hub is in the Hudson Valley, with drop-yards in New Jersey and the Bronx, N.Y. Workers there have long been seeking better COVID-19 protections, better wages and healthcare, and better work schedules.
A week ago, Teamster drivers at UNFI authorized a strike over violations of federal labor law and UNFI’s failure to provide adequate protections from COVID-19. Before a strike occurred, UNFI proposed an improved contract offer, and Local 445’s UNFI members ratified the contract on Sunday.
“Our members stood together in solidarity and were able to win substantial pay increases over the life of the contract and a quicker rise to top pay. But you cannot put a price on health and safety,” said Dan Maldonado, President of Teamsters Local 445. “The Teamsters continue to demand that UNFI comply fully with state and CDC regulations on social distancing, provision of PPE, cleaning and sanitization of equipment like our trucks after each shift. We hope we can sign a letter of agreement with the company that will bring them up to par.”
Teamsters Local 445 also expressed support for passage of the NY Hero Act, which requires businesses to follow enforceable safety standards to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, and that they will report any violations of state COVID-19 guidelines to the New York Department of Labor.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.