The ability for workers to stand together to improve working conditions and bargain for fair wages is essential to the American Dream. But at Taylor Farms in Tracy, the bosses are threatening and intimidating workers as part of a campaign to stop those workers from joining a union.
Today, community leaders and workers rallied outside of a Taylor Farms facility this morning to demand respect, living wages and affordable benefits for immigrant workers. Workers were joined by San Joaquin Supervisor Carlos Villapudua and other community allies, including faith leaders and immigrant rights activists.
Holding banners and signs in Spanish and English that said “Respect All Workers” and “Stop the War on Immigrant Workers,” workers and supporters called for a stop to poverty wages, unsafe exposure to chemicals, and inhumane treatment of the company’s mostly immigrant workforce.
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.
Taylor Farms worker Robert Carrillo:
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.
Taylor Farms workers are organizing with Teamsters Local 601, seeking an opportunity to form a union to improve their situation. They said the company has been 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.
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.
Taylor Farms worker Eddie Rodriguez:
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.
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:
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.