Unionized workers at Foster Farms’ poultry plant in Compton ratified a new labor contract, the union announced Tuesday, averting a potential strike by nearly 250 workers.
According to Teamsters Local 630, the 245 production, sanitation, warehouse and maintenance workers employed by Foster Farms ratified their latest contract.
“We have never seen a contract as good as the one we’ve seen this time around,” Leticia Rosales, a production worker with 30 years’ experience at the Compton facility who served on the bargaining committee, said in a statement.
Officials with Foster Farms could not be reached for immediate comment.
According to the union, the workers’ contract expired June 14, 2020, and they had been working since then under an extension agreement that allowed either party to terminate the arrangement with seven days’ notice.
“These brave women and men never stopped working during the pandemic to keep Californians fed, and now they have a collective bargaining agreement that reflects the immeasurable value they bring to their communities as essential workers,” Lou Villalvazo, Local 630 secretary-treasurer, said in a statement. “This victory illustrates that when workers come together as Teamsters and refuse to bow down to fear in the face of adversity, they can ensure that their employers give them the strong wages and good benefits they deserve.”
According to the union, the workers at the plant, 1805 N. Santa Fe Ave., are predominantly Black and Latina women.
The union had targeted the company with a series of actions, including a practice picket and a campaign that aimed to reach out to customers at grocery stores which stock Foster Farms products.
One of the workers’ key sticking points with the initial deal offered by the company was that it “attempted to force its workers to accept a health care plan that would increase medical costs by thousands of dollars every year and cover a significant percentage of medical visits frequently utilized by women with families out of pocket,” according to a union statement. “These include labor and delivery, emergency room visits, and mental health services.”
But the company returned to the table and negotiated a new contract that, according to the union, not only included good medical benefits, but also substantial wage increases.
Foster Farms is headquartered in Livingston, California, but has facilities throughout the West Coast and some on the East Coast.