News & Commentary

May 6, 2024

Luke Hinrichs

Luke Hinrichs is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentaries, Boeing locks out firefighter union members; Blue Bottle Coffee workers vote to unionize; and 80 drivers in Florida vote to join the Teamsters.

Boeing locked out about 130 International Association of Firefighters Local I-66 union members in the company’s in-house firefighting service at its facilities in Washington state following ongoing contract disputes. Boeing is the first company in the US to lock out a fire department in over four decades. Boeing has hired private, non-union replacements for the locked out union workers while also filing an unfair labor practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Boeing’s actions occur in the broader context of other ongoing labor negotiations with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751 in Puget Sound and W24 in Portland, Oregon.

Blue Bottle Coffee workers across the Boston area voted 38 to 4 in favor of unionizing, becoming the first of the company’s workers to join a union. The workers have formed and voted to join an independently run union for representation, the Blue Bottle Independent Union. The Blue Bottle workers are now among a growing number of independent local coffee shop unions.

Eighty drivers at United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) have unanimously voted to join Teamsters Local 79 in Tampa, Florida. Prior to the vote, the company engaged in a union-busting campaign, threatening to outsource the workers’ jobs to nonunion employer J.B. Hunt. In March, the NLRB intervened, ruling in favor of the drivers and refusing to accept the company’s outsource plans as the workers sought union representation. The drivers are the third UNFI labor unit to join the teamsters this year.

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.