PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. here said Tuesday it is disappointed that members of Teamsters Local 117 in Auburn, Wash., rejected its latest offer.
"After a bargaining session with the union last week, and after several discussions with the union's leadership leading up to the vote on Friday, UNFI extended a reasonable, good-faith offer to the union and was optimistic a contract would be ratified," the company said.
Talks last week were conducted under the aegis of a federal mediator. The Teamsters launched a strike in early December at a UNFI distribution center in Auburn, citing unfair labor practices during contract negotiations. The Teamsters called off the strike at one point but resumed it after it said some striking workers had been terminated.
Read more: UNFI Back in Mediation With Teamsters
In a statement Tuesday, Sean Griffin, UNFI group president, said, "UNFI will continue to stay focused on executing our mission of meeting the needs of our customers in the Seattle marketplace. We regret the union's timing of this strike and that it continues, particularly because of the impact the strike has had on our associates and their families in Auburn."
On Monday the union said it plans to hold a "community solidarity meeting" Saturday morning to discuss the ongoing labor dispute. The notice of the meeting was posted online under a headline that said, "Profits over people. Won't follow the law."
The posting went on to say: "In spite of record profits, UNFI has committed multiple violations of federal law, including the unlawful replacement of workers at its distribution center in Seattle."
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