Press Releases

UNFI Workers in Florida Join Teamsters


Drivers in Sarasota Fight Back Against Outsourcing, Win Representation

Press Contact: Daniel Moskowitz Phone: (770) 262-4971 Email:

(SARASOTA, Fla.) – Drivers at United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) have unanimously voted to join Teamsters Local 79 in Tampa, Fla. The 80-worker group stood strong to overcome a nasty union-busting campaign by the natural food distributor, taking their fight to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to secure a union election and beat back efforts to outsource their jobs to notorious nonunion company J.B. Hunt.

“Gone are the days of unfair treatment and favoritism. Gone are the days of unfair business practices. Gone are the days of begging for a livable wage,” said Rob Kroupa, a seven-year driver at UNFI. “With one voice, we now go to the bargaining table to begin improving our standard of living.”

Kroupa and his co-workers are seeking a strong Teamsters contract to address years of concerns and mismanagement at UNFI’s Sarasota facility. Key issues include wages, health care and retirement benefits, job security, and working conditions.

“Despite facing significant obstacles, these workers were unwavering in their commitment to secure their rights and win representation. They refused to stand for UNFI’s despicable union-busting tactics and bravely took their fight to the NLRB when the company tried to outsource their jobs. Their solidarity and determination will serve them well as we take our fight into negotiations for a first Teamsters contract,” said Brian Rothman, President of Local 79.

On March 14, the NLRB ruled in favor of holding an election for UNFI drivers after it agreed with Local 79’s vigorous effort to reject the company’s bogus plans to outsource jobs in a desperate attempt to stop the union effort. Now, the Board is continuing to investigate whether UNFI also committed unfair labor practices because it claims it subcontracted driving jobs to J.B. Hunt.

“By becoming Teamsters, drivers in Sarasota have taken a bold step towards achieving better wages, stronger benefits, real job protections, and true respect in the workplace. This group showed courage and put it all on the line to secure this crucial victory,” said Tom Erickson, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “This is our second group of UNFI workers to organize in the South in less than two months. We have active campaigns underway across the country – including in nearby Pompano Beach, Fla. – where we will fight with the same tenacity to win them the representation every UNFI worker deserves.”

The organizing victory marks the third Teamsters UNFI organizing victory at the company this year and follows recent Teamsters organizing victories at UNFI in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Last year, more than 1,000 workers at the company voted to join the Teamsters nationwide. The Teamsters represent more than 4,000 members at UNFI across the U.S.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at