When we fight, we win!

UNFI Litigation - News and Updates

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This page is set up to provide updates to Teamsters 117 members who worked at UNFI's warehouse in Tacoma and were unlawfully laid off by the company. Our Union is defending an Arbitration Award that UNFI is challenging in federal court.

Our goal is to fight the Company in court and uphold the Arbitrator's Award that allowed members to transfer to Centralia with the same wages and benefits that they had in Tacoma. When there are developments in the case or other news that impacts Teamster families, we will post it here.

To receive updates via text message, text "Teamsters FUNFI" to 313131. Please understand that the litigation process is a lengthy one and there may be several weeks between updates. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows. 

UNFI NEWS TICKER

April 2, 2020
In an effort to keep you all updated on the processing of the litigation, we contacted the court for a status update today. The only new information is that the motion for stay that was filed on 1/24/2020 is in Judge Jones' queue. The court was not able to provide a time frame for a decision. As we have shared before, this is a slow legal process that is presumably further delayed by the staffing and priority case load in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. Although this update does not include any major development, we have been asked by the membership and we have committed to provide regular updates no matter how big or small.

March 13, 2020
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the meeting at our Union Hall in Tukwila on March 21 has been cancelled until further notice. Please stay healthy and safe!

March 5, 2020
As you know, UNFI filed actions in both Federal Court and at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union to challenge Arbitrator’s Duffy’s award.  In the Federal Court action, UNFI filed a motion to stay (put on hold) those proceedings until the NLRB ruled on their charges. We suspect that the Company's motives for filing the motion to stay are to continue to block your rights under the Award and to slow down the process as much as possible. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion. As soon as we hear from the judge, we will let you know.

At the regional NLRB office (region 19), our Union’s outside legal team filed a supplemental position statement a few weeks ago. Our statement provides a good overview of our main arguments in the case and request that the Board dismiss UNFI's charges. To inform yourself, please take some time to review this document. Since then, the regional office has been unable to make a determination about UNFI’s charges (likely for political reasons) and has submitted the charges to the NLRB General Counsel (a Trump appointee) for “advice”. We suspect the General Counsel's "advice" will be to push these charges to hearing. We are preparing for this outcome. Stay tuned for more information.

February 10, 2020
UNFI has filed a motion to stay proceedings in federal court.  They are asking the Judge to stay (which means stop processing) the proceedings in federal court until the NLRB proceedings are concluded.  We are filing our objection to that motion today, and the hearing on the motion is Friday. 

January 13, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed and won and Arbitration Award related to the transfer of work to Centralia. Unfortunately, UNFI has refused honor the Arbitration decision and has instead filed appeals with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in Federal Court. The following updates are related to the litigation over UNFI’s appeal:

UNFI’s Unfair Labor Practice Charges against the Union with the NLRB:
The Union has filed its position statement and exhibits with the NLRB. The NLRB will now consider our position statement before deciding whether to investigate UNFI’s claim.

UNFI’s Appeal of Arbitrator Duffy’s Arbitration Decision to Federal Court:
Our Union has filed its answer to UNFI’s complaint and asserted counterclaims against UNFI for enforcement of the award. Our counterclaims against UNFI are (1) to confirm the award; (2) injunctive relief to enforce the award; and (3) breach of contract. The Court extended UNFI’s time to answer our counterclaims to January 17, 2020.

Although litigation is slow-moving, we are committed to keeping you updated with posts and text alerts as we progress through this process. To receive a text that an update has been posted, please text “Teamsters FUNFI” to 313131. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows.

January 3, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULP’s) with the National Labor Relations Board over the last year alleging that UNFI engaged in interference, disparaging communications, surveillance, unilateral changes and more. Although these charges are unrelated to the Arbitration and the ongoing litigation over the award (appeal), we feel it is important to keep you updated on the progress:

Union’s Unfair Labor Practice charges against UNFI:
The hearing on these charges was scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2020. On January 2, 2020, the Labor Board reached a settlement with UNFI, requiring the Company to send a notice posting to current and former Local 117 and 313 members setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor relations Act.

As mentioned above, UNFI is mandated to mail you a letter setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor Relations Act. We expect that letter to be mailed out within the next week or two. This letter will not require any further action from you. Although this may seem insignificant, it marks another Teamster win against this employer that couldn’t be possible without the involvement and testimony of many of you.

We have asked our legal team to draft an update related to the litigation over the Arbitration award and the appeal process. We intend on providing that update soon.

December 2019
Teamsters 117 establishes the UNFI Hardship Fund designed to assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of being unlawfully laid off by UNFI. If you are a UNFI member who worked at the Tacoma facility and you are facing financial hardship, please apply for assistance here.

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October 7, 2019
Arbitrator Joseph Duffy rules unequivocally for the Union stating that members of Teamsters 117 shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. View the Arbitration Award here.


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