Please welcome our over 200 new brothers and sisters who work at Marquez Brothers Inc. in Hanford, CA. They voted to join Local 517 in Visalia on Friday, July 20th. Marquez is the largest distributor of Mexican consumer products in the United States.
The Teamsters represent more employees in California’s food chain than any other union, and with this election victory Joint Council 7 celebrates over 10,000 new members organized in the last two years.
This new unit of employees joins more than 35,000 Teamsters employed in dairy production throughout California and the United States. Work in the dairy industry proves to be both difficult and dangerous, and Teamsters are able to make a living wage with good benefits and retirement security in return. The employees at Marquez knew they deserved the same.
For Marquez Brothers employees, organizing was not an easy feat. The company held daily meetings to try and influence their employees against joining the union. Marquez Brothers is now challenging the election results and spreading fear throughout the workplace in hopes of coercing employees into calling for a new election. Additionally, on the Monday after the election, Marquez Brothers began telling the employees that representatives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be at the plant on Friday checking immigration status as workers picked up their paychecks.
“99% of the employees at Marquez are Latino,” said Chester Suniga, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 517.
It’s outrageous that a Latino company appears to be taking advantage of our broken immigration system to deprive their employees of a voice at work.
Rome Aloise, President of Joint Council 7 and Director of the Dairy Conference and Food Processing Division, is reaching out to Latino elected officials to ask for their support in future negotiations with Marquez. Joint Council 7 understands that organizing is part of a long-term project to build power for Latinos in the Central Valley. The same week that the employees at Marquez Brothers in Hanford voted to join our Union, a Teamster-supported project registered over 500 Latinos to vote in the City of Hanford itself. Aloise:
Our Union is steadfastly committed to Latinos having representation at their workplace and in local government.
Fortunately, the new Teamsters at Marquez have refused to be persuaded or discouraged by their management. These employees understand and appreciate the many advantages of being Teamsters.