Thursday, November 14, 2013

Taylor Farms workers demand respect and a living wage

San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua, Teamsters Local 601Secretary-Treasurer Ashley Alvarado, Teamsters Local 439 Secretary-Treasurer Sam Rosas
Workers who want to join Teamsters Local 601 rallied outside of a Taylor Farms facility today in Tracy, Calif., to demand respect, living wages and affordable benefits for immigrant workers.

They were joined by San Joaquin Supervisor Carlos Villapudua and other community allies, including faith leaders and immigrant rights activists.

Said Villapudua:
All workers deserve respect and a decent life for them and their families – that includes immigrant workers here in Tracy. We need to support these workers and tell Taylor Farms to provide a living wage and respect workers’ rights.
Robert Carillo, a Taylor Farms worker who spoke at the rally, said:
Taylor Farms needs to stop its unfair treatment and intimidation against us. Our working conditions are horrible – that’s why we are organizing. We need union representation to get respect from the company.
Workers spoke of ongoing safety issues at the plant, including fumes from strong chemicals used to clean machinery which causes gagging among some workers. Other long-term health and workplace concerns include being forced to work up to 18 hours a day and being afraid to report workplace injuries for fear of being fired.

The company is running a bitter campaign to fight workers’ organizing efforts, including firing workers, threatening them with termination, and intimidating immigrant workers for speaking out against favoritism, wage theft and unsafe conditions. Taylor Farms worker Eddie Rodriguez was fired a day after talking to a Teamsters representative.
The company’s rosy talk about its reputation doesn’t matter – what matters is how they act. I was fired the next day after merely talking to the union representative. They treat us like toilet paper.
According to workers at the rally, Unfair Labor Practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board and the union has reached out to Taylor Farms CEO Bruce Taylor in an effort to start a constructive dialogue.

Workers and supporters at the rally said they were putting the company on notice and vowed to keep up the pressure until Taylor Farms stops its attacks on immigrant workers.

Lucia Gonzalez from Working Partnerships USA, said:
Taylor Farms needs to know that the community will not stand for the abuse, intimidation and harassment of its workers.
Teamsters Local 601 represents thousands of workers in the food processing industry. Taylor Farms workers in Salinas, Calif., are represented by Teamsters Local 890.