Teamster warehouse workers and drivers who work at Vistar Foodservice’s distribution facility have been on strike since last week after more than a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the company. The 85 warehouse workers and drivers are members of Teamsters Local 630 in Los Angeles and are calling attention to ongoing pay discrimination against women and other unfair labor practices at Vistar, a division of Performance Food Group (NYSE: PFGC).
“We are tired of being disrespected just because we are women, so we are standing up for a living wage because this is about our families, our kids,” said Rebecca Hernandez, a longtime Vistar/PFG employee and single-mother who is currently on strike. “We’ve given so much to this company so they could become millionaires. Some of us have been working for the company for as long as 15 years and Vistar refuses to provide equal pay for equal work.”
Local 630 is seeking an agreement similar to the contract it negotiated for its members at Roma Foods, another PFG company. Vistar/PFG services food vendors at movie theatres, state prisons, hospitals, and other facilities throughout the state.
“Vistar Performance Food Group is a highly profitable company that dominates the industry in this region,” said Lou Villalvazo, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 630. “They can easily afford raises for these workers, especially the women whose labor is openly devalued by the company. Vistar/PFG is acting like it’s the 1950s.”
The company argues that the women working in the warehouse handle lighter loads and therefore can be paid less than their male co-workers. This is the second Unfair Labor Practice strike the predominately Latino immigrant workforce has undertaken this year. The workers went on a three-day strike in June over the same issues.
The current strike began August 16 and workers have maintained picket lines in shifts, many walking the strike like with their children at their side.
“These brave workers are walking the picket line because it’s the only way to stand up for their families. They are standing up against Vistar’s greed, its discrimination against women and its exploitation of workers. Teamsters will not allow Vistar to keep working standards low in this industry. This is about winning a fair and equal contract with respect and dignity,” Villalvazo added.
Vistar/PFG workers joined Local 630 in 2015. In recent months Local 630 and its members have reached out to movie-goers at major Vistar/PFG customers including AMC and Regal Cinemas to put a spotlight on the company’s pay discrimination against women.