Providence, RI–Despite objections from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UNFI shareholders approved a substantial executive compensation plan. The union outlined its concerns in a letter to shareholders in November, prior to the vote, citing a “75% collapse in UNFI’s stock price since the announcement of the Supervalu acquisition in July 2018.” The letter noted, “Even as management has succeeded in destroying billions of dollars in shareholder value, the Compensation Committee, under Director Heffernan’s leadership [James P. Heffernan, UNFI’s Compensation Committee Chair], has taken numerous steps to cushion the financial blow to CEO Steven Spinner and other top executives.”
The Teamsters also went on strike, starting on December 12 with Teamsters Local 414 drivers, warehouse and maintenance workers at the Fort Wayne, IN, warehouse. The workers were protesting “the company’s violations of federal laws that protect workers’ right,” according to a press release from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The release explained that Local 414’s collective bargaining agreement with UNFI expired Sept. 14. According to a second press release days later, in a show of solidarity, “More than 700 Teamsters Local 120 members at the Hopkins [Minnesota] facility and 150 Teamsters Local 662 members in Green Bay [Wisconsin] exercised their right to honor the picket line extension, bringing the total workers affected by the ongoing labor dispute to more than 1,000.”
Workers ended the strike on December 18, after UNFI and Teamsters agreed to resume contract negotiations. On that same day, UNFI, which recently reported its financial results for the first quarter fiscal 2020, held its 2019 Annual Stockholder Meeting, in which the compensation package was approved.