COMPTON, CALIF. – After rejecting a contract offer July 18 at Foster Farms’ frozen food plant, 245 employees of the poultry processing facility agreed to ratify a subsequent labor agreement with the company on Aug. 31, according to the company and officials with Teamsters Local 630.
“We are pleased to have reached an equitable agreement endorsed by Teamsters Local 630 leadership and ratified by our employees,” said Ira Brill, vice president of communications with Foster Farms.
According to the union, the new agreement included improved health care benefits and substantial wage increases. It claimed terms of the agreement were positively amended after workers staged a “practice picket” at the plant and contacted customers of grocery stores carrying the company’s poultry products about compensation issues and benefit packages afforded to its employees.
“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,” said Lou Villalvazo, Secretary-Treasurer of the union representing workers at the facility. “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.”
The union’s previous contract with the company expired in June 2020 and workers have since been working on an extension agreement while negotiations were going on. The contract covers production, sanitation, warehouse and maintenance workers at the plant.
According to one of the employees at the plant serving on the bargaining committee, the agreement is a victory for workers.
“We have never seen a contract as good as the one we’ve seen this time around,” said Leticia Rosales, a longtime production worker at the plant. “We’re proud to be part of this movement of unity and solidarity amongst workers to hold Foster Farms accountable so they give us respect and dignity. I’ve never been prouder to be a member of Local 630.”
Foster Farms employs more than 12,000 with facilities throughout California, Oregon and Washington as well as Farmerville, La., and Demopolis, Ala. The company produces fresh chicken and turkey products in addition to pre-marinated, ready-to-cook and fully cooked products.