FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The Teamsters Local 414 started striking Thursday morning outside Fort Wayne United Natural Foods (UNFI) protesting the company’s alleged violations of federal labor laws.
Drivers, warehouse and maintenance workers totaling 158 members are striking after their collective bargaining agreement with UNFI expired back on Sept. 14. The strike impacts food and supplies delivered to groceries stores in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky.
“UNFI’s attacks on its Fort Wayne workers are a show of disrespect for the men and women who are the backbone of its operations and have been for decades,” said George Gerdes, Teamsters Local 414 Secretary-Treasurer. “The Teamsters Union does not condone abusive behavior by employers. Local 414 members will fight to ensure they are treated fairly and with respect.”
UNFI is the largest wholesale distributor to natural and organic retailers in the U.S. and Canada, and the second-largest grocery wholesaler in America. Their largest customer is Whole Foods/Amazon, accounting for 21 percent of UNFI’s revenue this year. The company acquired SUPERVALU, causing the company’s stock to lose 80 percent of its value.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters says in a release that UNFI has a troubled labor history and is hostile toward workers’ rights.