teamsters_logoMonday evening saw a strike by grocery workers distributing organic foods. The workers delivering to PCC, Whole Foods and Safeway are seeking better working conditions and higher wages.

The grocery workers, numbering about 165, include drivers and warehouse workers of United Natural Foods delivery and distribution center located in Auburn.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters local 117 has said that workers at similar posts handling similar jobs in the area are paid approximately 25% more than the workers at United Natural Foods. The workers at United Natural Foods have been working without a contract since February, and the extension of contracts expired in August. United Natural Foods had to bring in 50 non-union employees to handle the work while matters are resolved at the company. The impact of the strike, however, could also affect the stores’ product availability as the goods delivered by the striking workers include dairy products and dry goods.

The Brotherhood of Teamsters local 117 also divulged that United Natural Foods is being investigating for alleged violations of labor laws by the National Labor Relations Board. The 45 violations include refusing to bargain in good faith, intimidation, and putting workers under surveillance.

One of the affected retailers, Whole Foods, had given a statement saying that their stores did not expect much, if any, goods or services disruption as a result of the strike. The organic foods distributor United Natural Foods hasn’t issued any statement concerning the strike.

It seems that it has been a season of strikes that have come at a bad time for retailers, as it is the holiday season when they expect to make the most of their sales during the Christmas festivities.