After a five-year battle to form a union, 280 warehouse workers at the largest organic and natural food supplier in the United States, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), have voted to join Teamsters Local 166 in Bloomington, California.
"Company efforts to avoid union representation were overcome by workers determined to have a voice in their work life and fair treatment on the job," said Mike Bergen, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 166. "The workers at UNFI in Moreno Valley have finally received the justice and victory they deserve. We will work hard with these newest Teamsters to win a strong contract that addresses their problems."
The election took place May 11. This victory is part of a wave of victories for workers at UNFI, including a contract for workers in Dayville, Connecticut represented by Teamsters Local 493 and drivers in Moreno Valley, California represented by Teamsters Local 63. Additionally, negotiations are under way in Montgomery, New York where UNFI drivers recently organized with Local 445.
Local 166 joins the expanding network of Teamster brothers and sisters negotiating a labor contract with UNFI. Teamster contracts are expiring this year for warehouse and production workers and drivers in Seattle (Local 117), Iowa (Local 238) and New Jersey (Local 810).
As a result of Moreno Valley drivers organizing with Teamsters Local 63, and securing overtime pay in their labor contract, UNFI has begun offering overtime pay for drivers across several locations in its network.
The Moreno Valley Distribution Center distributes to Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Northgate, Vons, Ralphs and other food retailers in Southern California and the American Southwest.
UNFI is Whole Foods Market's primary distributor and its strategic partner; it is seeking to diversify its customers and product offerings s Whole Foods faces intense takeover pressures instigated by activist investors Jana Partners, creating an uncertain future.