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California Food Delivery Workers Unionize in Historic First for Imperfect Foods Drivers on Frontlines of COVID-19, Protecting Food Access for Thousands As Pandemic Continues

April 16, 2021

Imperfect Foods Box

Union Victory for Food Delivery Workers Comes As Companies Push to Exploit Prop. 22 and Weaken Protections for Essential Frontline Workers

HAYWARD, CA — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, which represents 30,000 food and retail workers across the Bay Area, announced a major victory for nearly 100 food delivery workers unionizing at Imperfect Foods, a tech-driven grocery startup based in San Francisco that delivers surplus or “imperfect” produce and other food products directly to consumers in states across the country. Imperfect Foods just announced $110 million in a new funding round, with the company now valued at $700 million after its 2015 launch.

Imperfect Foods workers joining UFCW Local 5 comes after a recent union victory for Bay Area 250 Safeway grocery delivery drivers who became the first food delivery workers at the top grocery chain to unionize. UFCW has been a leading national voice for food delivery and gig economy workers, helping Instacart workers unionize for the first time in company history in February 2020. In the wake of Prop. 22, UFCW is holding gig economy and food delivery companies accountable and continuing the push to protect essential food delivery workers who are serving as a critical lifeline, protecting food access for those who are high-risk or quarantining as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Imperfect Foods grocery delivery worker Chris Jasinski:

“We organized with UFCW Local 5 because we know companies that profess to do good, like Imperfect Foods, will pursue bottom line profits over the health and safety of their workers unless they are held accountable. For essential workers like us helping families get the food they need during COVID-19, this is a major victory as we continue to speak out to ensure these are good-paying union jobs our community needs.”

UFCW Local 5 Strategic Campaigns Director Jim Araby:

“UFCW Local 5 is organizing the grocery delivery sector because essential workers who deliver our groceries should be able to count on the same benefits and protections as the essential workers in our grocery stores. As technology makes it easier to access groceries during the pandemic, we must ensure that the essential workers in this sector who are on the frontlines are protected and have a voice on the job.” 

BACKGROUND:

UFCW Local 5 announced today that more than 80 food delivery workers at Imperfect Foods voted to join the union. The campaign to unionize Imperfect Foods workers began in July 2020, and these workers voted to join UFCW Local 5 to strengthen pay, increase access to healthcare, and improve health and safety protections as they continue to serve as frontline workers and face higher incidences of injuries amid a spike in food delivery demand during the pandemic.

Imperfect Foods attempted to stop workers from unionizing by hiring a union-busting consultant and held daily 2-hour mandatory meetings for two straight weeks in an attempt to intimidate and pressure workers against exercising their right to unionize with UFCW Local 5. Imperfect Foods threatened to outsource the jobs of these workers to contractors and changed people’s shifts to disrupt the campaign. Additionally, the company promised raises and promotions to workers who voted against unionizing.

In January 2021, UFCW Local 5 announced a union victory for 250 Safeway grocery delivery drivers who became the first food delivery workers at the top grocery chain to unionize

UFCW has been a leading national voice for food delivery and gig economy workers, helping Instacart workers unionize for the first time in company history in February 2020. 

In the wake of Prop. 22, UFCW is holding gig economy and food delivery companies accountable and continuing the push to protect essential food delivery workers who are serving as a critical lifeline, protecting food access for those who are high-risk or quarantining as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 represents a highly diverse group of laborers. We are supermarket stockers, retail clerks, food processers, financial professionals and cannabis cultivators.  As members of UFCW5, we speak in a clear, progressive and unified voice—30,000 strong. We take pride in what we do. And we do it all with a human touch.  Headquartered in Hayward—with local offices stretching from Salinas to Eureka—UFCW5 advocates for the hard-working men and women of Northern California. We ensure our members receive fair wages, ample benefits and maintain a healthy work-life balance.Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org