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Last Sunday, 52 drivers from Darigold represented by Teamsters Local 117 voted to authorize a strike, sending a message to Darigold that retirement security and reduced premium share are priorities.

Joe Wheeler, a Darigold driver and a shop steward puts it this way: “We need the company to step up. Of all the Teamsters 117 drivers’ contracts, we have the highest cost for our medical and one of the lowest pension contribution rates.  Today we are showing Darigold management how serious we are about achieving equity with other Union drivers in the Seattle region.”

Wheeler has committed his entire working career to Darigold, as he has been with the company for over three decades. It wasn’t always an easy path. In 2003, Darigold locked out their production workers in a power play against the union, and after that, the company outsourced the drivers to several different third parties.

We have a great group of drivers, and we are here every day to deliver essential milk and dairy products to the tables of our communities. We just want our employer to demonstrate that they appreciate our work.

Darigold brought the drivers back in as employees three years ago The current contract negotiations are the first since the drivers are back as Darigold employees Like Wheeler, a significant percentage of the drivers will be eligible to retire in the next four years so the drivers value retirement security.

“We have been here every day throughout the pandemic because of our commitment to the work that we do. We need the company to show the same commitment to us. We live in the Seattle area where the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation,” said Wheeler.

Despite the spread of COVID-19, drivers haven’t missed a day of hard work. They take every precaution possible to decrease the risk of contracting or spreading the virus and put in extra work to disinfect everything, especially since they are in constant contact with Darigold customers.

Dominic Labriola, who also drives for Darigold and is a Teamsters Shop Steward proudly fighting for workers’ rights, reflects on this sentiment:

“We have a great group of drivers, and we are here every day to deliver essential milk and dairy products to the tables of our communities. We just want our employer to demonstrate that they appreciate our work.”

Yulia Issa

About Yulia Issa

We build unity and power for all working people to improve lives and lift up our communities. This is our Union.