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UNFI Teamsters Return to Work

AUBURN, Wash. — United Natural Foods Inc. workers at the company’s warehouse here were scheduled to return to work this week after the wholesalers agreed to terms on a new, five-year contract with Teamsters Local 117.

The union had been on strike for about nine weeks, after it had accused the company of unfair bargaining practices and of unfairly dismissing workers.

“UNFI is pleased to welcome back our associates,” said Sean Griffin, UNFI group president, in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work and diligence of the negotiating teams and mediator in reaching a fair and equitable agreement and now look to move forward together as a company.”

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI said both sides agreed to withdraw and not re-file all pending unfair labor practice claims.

More news: UNFI Eyes Acquisitions in Canada

According to a statement on the union website, the agreement provides for the reinstatement of all workers, including the 72 who had been permanently replaced; health and welfare protections for workers; and “meaningful” wage increases.

“Workers at UNFI stood together courageously in difficult conditions to fight for dignity and respect,” said Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “With the help of our community partners and a strong bargaining committee, workers were able to achieve a fair and just contract.”

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