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UNFI: 'Labor disruptions' expected to end

"We hope to have our associates return to work in the very near-term."

HOPKINS, Minn. — After more than 700 workers from the United Natural Foods, Inc. distribution center in Hopkins exercised their right to honor the picket line extension on Tuesday, the company said in a release it is expecting the "labor disruptions" to be resolved by Wednesday night.

Teamsters Local 120, which represents the Hopkins facility, joined Local 662 members in Green Bay, Wis., picketing on Tuesday evening in support of workers in Fort Wayne, Ind., who are striking against what they describe as "unfair labor practices." 

UNFI provided the following statement in response:

UNFI is anticipating the end of labor disruptions tonight and the resumption of normal business activity at distribution centers in Fort Wayne, Green Bay, and Hopkins. We hope to have our associates return to work in the very near-term. We’re also committed to return to the bargaining table in Fort Wayne and work in good faith with Teamsters Local 414 to reach a new labor agreement.

We’re happy that our valued associates at all three facilities will be able to return to work and no longer experience the unnecessary instability they’ve experienced during the early holiday season. We appreciate our customers patience during this and also thank our facility managers, supervisors and colleagues from around the country who came together to help ensure our customers continued to receive their shipments from us during this disruption.

UNFI is the largest wholesale distributor to natural and organic retailers in the nation. After its acquisition of SUPERVALU last year, it became the second-largest grocery wholesaler in the country. The Hopkins facility provides service for Cub Foods stores in the area. 

The strike by Local 414 in Indiana began on Thursday. Local 414's contract with UNFI expired on Sept. 14.

RELATED: UNFI workers in Hopkins honor picket line extension