Stephen Trinkhaus, owner of Bellingham, Wash. based organic food retailer Terra Organica, noted that after investigating the Auburn workers' claims of workers' rights violations, he "stands firmly on the side of the union workers." Trinkhaus noted that UNFI has negatively affected his business by dropping top selling products that his store carries in favor of meeting demands of Whole Foods and other large chain stores.
Jayne Rossman of the Olympia Food Cooperative added that UNFI has jeopardized the 20,000 members of the cooperative's ethical mission, stating "with UNFI's increased sales and profits, there is no excuse to treat the workers who supply the cooperative so unjustly."
Jeremy Blasi, an investigator for the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) who conducted the organization's investigatory report "Freedom of Association at United Natural Foods Inc." ( http://laborrights.org/freedom-at-work/resources/report-on-freedom-of-association-at-united-natural-foods-inc), described in detail the company's serious violations of international labor rights including threats, intimidation and discrimination at both a warehouse in California where workers attempted to form a union as well as a union-represented Auburn, Wash., facility.
Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the 800,000-member Organic Consumers Association, said, "Our members are outraged by UNFI's behavior and if progress is not made by Thursday, the association will call for a boycott of UNFI."Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters. SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters