Teamster production workers and lab technicians, employed by Darigold, distributed leaflets at ten Walmart and Sam’s Club locations throughout the day today to inform consumers about the company’s multiple violations of federal labor law and the growing threat of a potential lockout or strike.
The workers handed out information and talked with shoppers at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in Renton, Puyallup, Federal Way, Auburn, Covington, Bellevue, and Seattle. Approximately 150 workers participated in the leafleting action.
“Darigold is treating us now as bad or worse than they did ten years ago leading up to the lockout in 2003,” said Jeff Koch, a 25-year production worker at the Darigold processing plant in Issaquah. “The public needs to know that they’re trying to intimidate us and they’re trying to sabotage the bargaining process.”
“The public needs to know that they’re trying to intimidate us and they’re trying to sabotage the bargaining process.”
On September 6, Teamsters Local 117 filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB, alleging that Darigold unlawfully bargained directly with employees over key issues and that the company engaged in illegal surveillance of its own employees during a peaceful picketing action at the Issaquah facility on September 5.
The union filed additional charges on Wednesday, after the employer’s lead negotiator allegedly walked out of federal mediation on September 16 without informing the mediator or the union bargaining committee, leaving no one on the employer’s side with the authority to bargain.
“We will continue to inform the public about Darigold’s mistreatment of workers and its violations of the law until the company makes a good-faith effort to reengage in the bargaining process,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
Darigold is owned by over 700 members of the Northwest Dairy Association. Workers at the Issaquah plant make butter, sour cream, and cottage cheese, while workers in Seattle process hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk every year, supplying Costco, Walmart, and many other grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. The company’s annual sales are over $2.0 billion.
Teamsters 117 represents 220 workers at the company’s Seattle and Issaquah plants and 16,000 total workers across Washington State.