• Darigold workers vote; could face lockout

    By: Jeff Dubois


    A grocery store strike may have been avoided, but now another labor dispute could keep Darigold milk from shelves.

    Workers at the company's plants in Seattle and Issaquah are set to vote today on a "best and final" contract offer by the company.

    Some workers are worried Darigold will lock them out, if it doesn't pass.

    Two-hundred twenty people work at the Darigold plants in Seattle's Rainier Valley and Issaquah.

    The Teamster union members turned down a contract offer last month, and since then, some employees think the company has been training replacement workers, preparing for a strike or lockout.

    Darigold says its contract offer would give workers 45 cent raises each year for the next three years.

    But employees claim the company wants to double the price they'd have to pay for healthcare premiums, from 5 percent to 10 percent.

    "What they want to give us in a raise," said worker Kevin Graden, "We're not going to make anything, because we're going to have to pay more in medical."

    This stalemate could set the stage for a strike authorization vote.

    Darigold could also lock out its workers like it did 10 years ago.

    The dairy plants were closed for nine months.

    Workers said it was a financial nightmare they don't want to repeat.

    Check back on kirotv.com to see whether the teamsters approved or rejected Darigold's final contract offer.

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