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Darigold, Workers in Mediation as Contract Negotiations Heat Up

Washington state’s biggest private company is heading to mediation today with workers in Seattle, Issaquah and Tukwila. The negotiations between Darigold and its workers have gotten tense, and some staged an informational picket last week. 

Darigold’s butter and other dairy products are familiar to many shoppers in this area. It is a cooperative of more than 500 dairy farmers in the Pacific Northwest. In fiscal 2012, Darigold took in almost $2.5 billion in revenue.

The company says the workers represented by the Teamsters are well-paid and get a wage and benefits package of $36 per hour.

But the Teamsters say workers are frustrated by what Darigold is proposing. The contract covers about 200 workers who voted last month to authorize a strike. And the union says its members are upset that the company won’t guarantee job security and wants workers to pay more for their health care.

Ten years ago, Darigold locked out about 200 workers in a dispute that lasted nine months. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.