July 17, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Montogomery, NY – The 100 drivers at United Natural Foods Inc.’s Hudson Valley distribution center have voted to join Teamsters Local 445, the union announced July 11.
The company—the 6th largest grocery wholesaler in the United States, and the largest in the natural and organic sector—opened its Montgomery facility in 2014 largely to supply Whole Foods’ expansion in New York. “We’ve seen what UNFI workers have won around the country by organizing with the Teamsters,” driver Miguel Rodriguez said in a Local 445 statement. “We were inspired to stay strong and fight for our union and a voice on the job.” The Teamsters also represent workers at UNFI distribution centers in Dayville, Conn.; Edison, N.J.; Iowa City, Iowa; Leicester, Mass.; the Seattle suburb of Auburn; and Moreno Valley in Southern California. In 2013, the company fired 72 workers at the Auburn facility for going on an unfair-labor-practices strike. Whole Foods, which prides itself on selling “fair trade” imported products, is notoriously anti-union for its own workers, with CEO John Mackey once saying that having unions in the stores was “like having herpes.” Read more