Progressive food co-ops, like the Olympia Food Co-op and the Central Co-op in Seattle, are taking principled stands in support of workers on strike at United Natural Foods, Inc.
True to their commitment to social justice, these organizations recognize that the well-documented abuses of workers' rights at UNFI are inconsistent with their values.
Many co-op members throughout our region have walked the picket line with workers at UNFI's distribution center in Auburn (22 30th St. NE Auburn, WA). Some have brought hot food to the workers or wood for burn barrels; others have handed out leaflets about the dispute or attended rallies in support of the workers.
On December 27, the Olympia Food Co-op announced that it would refuse to take orders from UNFI for the following week, a move that it estimates will cost UNFI $100,000 in sales.
“We hope this sends a strong message to UNFI that the integrity of our supply chain is important to us,” said Harry Levine, a staff member at the Olympia Food Co-op. “UNFI must end labor violations and return to good faith bargaining.”
View the Olympia Food Co-op’s complete statement here.
The Central Food Co-op in Seattle took a similar stand when its Board of Trustees voted to honor the strike by not receiving deliveries from UNFI for one week.
One of the Central Food Co-op worker-owners, who attended a recent rally at the Roosevelt Whole Foods in Seattle in support of the striking workers, had this to say:
"I liked being able to stand beside some of our drivers and show them support and solidarity. Being part of a co-op is not just about shopping at an organic and natural foods store; there are certain values that we represent in the community.”
There are many ways you and your co-op can support workers and their families. For more information, visit www.UNFIDrivenByGreed.com.