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Federal Labor Law Violations Provoke Teamster Strike at AmerisourceBergen Northwest Distribution Hub

SEATTLE, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the Teamsters walked off the job Sunday afternoon to protest workers' rights violations at AmerisourceBergen's (ABC) Northwest distribution hub.

The members of Teamsters Local 117 work for the company's pharmaceutical distribution segment, which supplies hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, and retailers with medicine and healthcare supplies. Over the last year, the union has been met with nothing but resistance from company representatives, who are currently refusing to meet with workers to negotiate a contract.

"The last thing we want is a strike," said Wil Rance, Local 117 business agent. "We understand that service disruptions put the pharmacies and hospitals that rely on AmerisourceBergen for safe and reliable service in a tenuous position. Management just has not left us with a choice. That is why we called for only a one-day warning strike. The company seems to be more interested in violating the law than protecting the interests of its customers and their patients."

The measured one-day unfair labor practice strike is scheduled to end Monday afternoon.

Local union officials report that the National Labor Relations Board expects to issue a complaint against the company soon refusing to bargain and for making unlawful unilateral changes to working conditions.

"If these negotiations are any indication of AmerisourceBergen's approach to collective bargaining, then I am concerned that customers who use AmerisourceBergen could experience service disruptions in 2008 as additional collective bargaining agreements come due," said John Williams, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division and Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer.

The strike comes on the heals of AmerisourceBergen's Chief Executive David Yost reassuring shareholders and Wall Street analysts at the company's December investors meeting that he anticipated no work stoppages in the future. "I'm very, very comfortable with the labor situation we have," Yost said. "I can foresee no work stoppages here at all. We got a long history of having no work stoppages. There is certainly nothing on the horizon that would change that..."

The Teamsters report that during recent contract negotiations, AmerisourceBergen threatened employees with the closure of the Northwest facility, erected a chain-link fence around the facility, marched temporary workers through the work site, and sent letters to workers' homes threatening to replace them in the event of a strike.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 117, Tukwila, Washington
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