PCC statement regarding UNFI strike
(Seattle, Wash., December 19, 2012) — As a cooperative with longstanding values respecting both our own workforce and those of our many partners, PCC strongly supports the right to freely engage in collective bargaining, the right to equitable pay, fair benefits, and safe working conditions.
Concerns about the labor issues raised by the teamsters’ strike against UNFI prompted PCC to send a letter to UNFI on December 18, strongly encouraging UNFI to engage with the union and bargain in good faith to negotiate a successful agreement. While PCC happens to have union contracts at each of our stores, our cooperative’s commitment is and will continue to be to fair labor practices for all workers.
Because UNFI supplies the majority of our grocery, dairy, and a substantial amount of our body care and wellness products, issues with UNFI are very impactful on PCC. (Our fresh departments, including produce, meat and deli are supplied primarily by other local wholesalers.) We continue to accept deliveries from UNFI but are exploring other long-term options. In short, we have obligations to our members, shoppers and staff to maintain a viable business while supporting our fundamental values.
UNFI and the teamsters are scheduled to begin mediation on Thursday, December 20. We are watching the situation closely and will keep you apprised.
Update – February 1, 2013
We share the concern of all involved that the UNFI labor dispute ends with a fair and equitable resolution soon. Both sides returned to the bargaining table recently and we are watching closely.
As we have stated publicly, we are exploring distributor options, which is an ongoing and responsible business practice. UNFI is not our only distributor and, where it is feasible and beneficial to do so, we source directly from manufacturers and producers. We are, however, under contract with UNFI to deliver most of our non-perishable grocery dept. items, as well as many perishables, such as dairy products. We have made it very clear that we are counting on UNFI to bargain in good faith. PCC has employed a unionized workforce for thirty years; we respect and support fair labor practices within PCC and expect the same of our business partners.