More than 180 United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) selectors, loaders, lift operators, and other warehouse workers have voted to join Teamsters Local 493, based in Uncasville, Conn.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters reported that the organic and natural food supplier is seeking strong representation on the job to win higher wages, better healthcare, and a pension.
The overwhelming vote by warehouse workers at UNFI comes after an anti-union campaign by co-workers at the company. Still, the warehouse team will now join more than 3,500 Teamsters at UNFI nationwide, where the drivers and clerical workers were already members.
Bevan Sweet, secretary-treasurer of Local 493, said the warehouse workers were “the last piece of the puzzle,” and will now have more “leverage at the table than ever before.”
Proposal meetings by Local 493 will begin once the election is certified, and then the bargaining process for a first contract will start.
Teamsters added to its ranks earlier this year when more than 300 warehouse workers at a Smart & Final Distribution Center in Commerce, Calif., voted to join Teamsters Local 630 in Los Angeles in February.
Smart & Final operates more than 250 grocery warehouse stores in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and is part of Chedraui USA, a grocery retailer with 24,000 employees supporting 375 stores under the Smart & Final, El Super, and Fiesta Mar banners.
Earlier in the month, 220 warehouse workers at UNFI’s ’s Rocklin, Calif., facility voted to join Teamsters Local 150 in Sacramento, Calif.
And, in November 2022, the Teamsters union said its members had ratified a new contract covering 1,500 warehouse workers and truck drivers at Kroger Co., providing improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions, where Tom Erickson, director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division, described the contract as “the most lucrative deal in the history of the national contract at Kroger.”