AUBURN, Wash. (AP) — Union drivers and warehouse workers in Auburn, Wash., who had voted to return to work after a three-day strike against United Natural Foods Inc. say their strike is back on after they learned that the company is permanently replacing some warehouse workers.

Teamsters Local 117 says its UNFI workers offered Wednesday to return to work and the company accepted the offer. The union said more contract talks were scheduled Dec. 20.

On Thursday night, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey Thompson said the company has announced it is permanently replacing 72 warehouse workers.

The union says 163 drivers and warehouse workers walked out earlier this week in an unfair labor practice strike.

On Thursday, UNFI spokeswoman Lisa Madsen said the company had to hire permanent replacement workers “to continue to service customers.” She said UNFI would welcome back as many union members as it could.

Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods supplies organic foods to independent markets and large grocery store chains.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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