Darigold workers reject latest contract offer, strike possible

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ISSAQUAH — Union workers at the Darigold facilities in Issaquah and Seattle are one step closer to a strike. They rejected the latest contract offer from the company on a 161-0 vote Wednesday.

“There’s a combination of things in the contract that are not acceptable,” said Donna Lamb, who has worked for Darigold for 22 years.

darigold“It was almost like I couldn’t get past page 1,” said Teamsters 117’s Tracey Thompson. “There are numerous proposed changes in working conditions, changing work start times.”

The Teamsters have been working without a contract since June. But many of them are hoping they don’t end up on the picket line, because they remember what happened in 2003 when Darigold locked them out.

“Nine months of standing out in inclement weather with a sign, wanting our employer to come back to bargaining table and get a contract,” says Lamb. “I’m hoping that doesn’t happen this time.”

Darigold Vice President Steve Rowe says the company has no plans to lock out employees. But he says they are proud of the offer that’s already been put out there.

The union is hoping a better offer is still possible.  That’s why they don’t want to put a date on a strike.

“We’re not there, we want to get back to the bargaining table,” says Thompson. “We want to give them the opportunity to do the right thing, so we’re not going to put some arbitrary deadline out there.”

Rowe says there’s no way to stop cows from producing milk, even if there is a strike. So the company is making plans to continue operations.

Darigold has 1,400 employees in their Issaquah and Seattle plants. About 220 of them are members of Teamsters 117.

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