Teamsters Local 445 represents workers in the Hudson Valley counties of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester. The UNFI workers join a diverse membership that includes construction workers, warehouse workers, school bus drivers, freight drivers, nurses and municipal workers.
"We are so proud to be Teamsters," said Miguel Rodriguez, a UNFI driver. "We've seen what UNFI workers have won around the country by organizing with the Teamsters. We were inspired to stay strong and fight for our union and a voice on the job."
This vote was just the latest victory for UNFI workers. In Moreno Valley, California drivers organized their union with the Teamsters, and earlier this year they achieved a strong first contract, thanks to worker solidarity and the support of customers and food justice activists.
"We are happy to welcome our newest brothers and sisters in Montgomery, NY," said Steve Vairma, Teamsters Warehouse Division Director. "UNFI is now the sixth largest grocery wholesaler in the United States and the largest in the natural and organic sector. As the company has grown from its days supplying co-ops to become Whole Foods' strategic distribution partner, workers have increasingly sought union representation there. The Teamsters look forward to continuing to protect workers in this industry."
The Teamsters Union represents workers at UNFI distribution centers in Dayville, Conn.; Edison, N.J.; Iowa City, Iowa; Auburn (Seattle), Wash.; Leicester, Mass.; Moreno Valley, Calif. – and now Montgomery, N.Y.
UNFI's Montgomery facility opened in 2014 in order to support Whole Foods Market's expansion in New York. Since 2013, Teamsters Local 445, the Valley Central American Federation of Teachers, and the Hudson Valley Labor Federation — along with community groups, local families, taxpayers, and Teamsters Joint Council 16 — have been working to hold UNFI accountable. These stakeholders plan to ensure that UNFI's expansion in New York state — which was aided by millions of dollars in tax abatements — also benefits the working people of New York.
Next, Teamsters Local 445 and UNFI drivers will enter contract negotiations with company management to reach a contract that protects drivers and provides a stable workforce so that UNFI can thrive in the Hudson Valley.
Alex Moore, (718) 289-0204
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SOURCE Teamsters Joint Council 16