Updated:AUBURN, Wash. —
Grocery store delivery drivers and workers are back on the picket lines after returning to work from a two-day strike, but were told they no longer have a job.
On Tuesday, 162 union drivers and warehouse workers voted to end the strike, after United Natural Foods Inc. had agreed to go back to the bargaining table for contract negotiations.
United Natural Foods Inc. offered employees, with the Teamsters Local 117 union, to return back to work, and they accepted the offer.
But when workers returned Wednesday, they learned the company hired 72 new workers to replace them and they decided to go back on strike. This was nearly half of the workforce.
“This is an unlawful permanent replacement, obviously. Left us no other choice than to be out on strike again,” said Brenda Wiest of Teamsters Local 117.
Workers were outside of United Natural Foods Inc. in Auburn picketing on Thursday morning.
Company officials said the workers forced them to hire replacements, and that they'll try and hire back as many of the union members as they can.
Teamsters Local 117 and United Natural Foods Inc. are set to meet next week, but the picketers told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News they aren’t going to be back on the job until they have a new contract.