Covid-concerned truckers say company doesn’t disinfect trucks or provide PPE, threaten to strike

More than 100 truck drivers who supply groceries to stores in New York and the surrounding states are threatening to strike over COVID-19 safety concerns.

Around 120 truck drivers represented by Teamster’s Local 445 say that United Natural Foods (UNFI) has failed to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE) like hand sanitizer and masks and has failed to disinfect their trucks, according to reporting from Fox Business. The truck drivers are also calling for shorter work days, wage increases, and better benefits.

UNFI supplies Whole Foods grocery store locations. The truck drivers threatening to strike pick up at the UNFI’s Montgomery, New York distribution center and deliver to 30 Whole Foods locations in New York City, Connecticut, upstate New York, and New Jersey.

The truck drivers say that UNFI initially supplied PPE and cleaning items during the earlier days of the pandemic but that the company eventually stopped over the summer as the Coronavirus crisis lingered.

The union contract ended over the weekend and members authorized a strike.

UNFI says that they’re adhering to CDC guidelines and accuses the union of “shamelessly exploiting the pandemic in an effort to try gaining negotiating leverage.” They also say that they have made plans with third party carriers in the event of a strike.