A year after the Teamsters lured an overwhelming majority of workers at a California cheese plant to unionize and then failed to deliver on their promises, the workers decided enough was enough.
Workers at Marquez Brothers cheese plant voted Friday to dump the Teamsters union, closing out a yearlong effort to organize the mostly Hispanic workforce.
The narrow 85-83 vote to decertify the Teamsters, coming more than a year after the plant’s workers voted to establish the union, was a heavy blow for Teamsters officials.
“We didn’t like their strategy, the tactics,” said Jose Agustin Perez, a quality control worker who opposed the Teamsters from the beginning. “They were very aggressive.”
“I feel unions bully people to get what they want,” Perez added. “I respect Marquez. We don’t know what the company’s financial situation is.”
Friday’s election results were a setback for the Teamsters campaign to make inroads into primarily Latino food processing facilities in the San Joaquin Valley.
On Facebook, the Teamsters lamented their loss in a bittersweet letter and invitation for Marquez Brothers to call the union again in a year:
No matter how you individually voted, we will all join together in celebrating any improvements in conditions that are made for all Marquez workers.
Any of the promised salary increases the company will make in the next few days will be one step closer to equality with other workers in the Valley and the $20/hour that Local 517 members at Leprino and Land O’Lakes make.
We had hoped to win this election, but it is important to remember that the election was only one step in the ongoing campaign to improve the situation at Marquez Brothers. The company now has one year to make improvements before workers can request that the Teamsters return as your legal bargaining representative.
With unions currently winning 67 percent of their organizing campaigns, but failing to deliver contracts nearly half of the time for newly unionized workers, one must wonder when today’s union bosses will reexamine the product they’re selling.
For information on how to decertify a union go here.