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MONTGOMERY — Labor unions and community groups on Wednesday protested United Natural Foods' use of non-local labor to build a warehouse on Neelytown Road, having accepted abatements from local property and other taxes.

About 25 people boarded a bus at 5:30 a.m., bound for United Natural Foods' annual meeting in Providence, R.I., said Adrian Huff of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 445.

He said they were able to speak with the company's board of directors about their issues — mainly that local workers were not used for the approximately $58 million project.

"They had out-of-state people come up and do work, while local people are sitting home not working," Huff said in an interview after the protest.

The groups inducted the food distributor into the Corporate Tax Dodgers Hall of Shame website, run by the Alliance for a Greater New York and the Getting Our Money's Worth Coalition. On the site, United Natural Food's motto is modified to be "Driven by Greed," instead of "Driven by Nature."

Complaint filed with state

The groups also filed a complaint with the New York State Authorities Budget Office, which oversees local industrial development agencies. The complaint states that the Town of Montgomery Industrial Development Agency, which gave the project a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, did not provide adequate notice for a special meeting on the warehouse. It also criticized the agency for not responding to Freedom of Information Law requests in a timely manner.

Montgomery Supervisor Michael Hayes, who is also on the board of the town's IDA, said he couldn't comment on the complaint until he sees a copy.


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