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State, Community Leaders Hold Investigative Forum On Workers’ Rights Violations At Taylor Farms


(TRACY, Calif.) – Taylor Farms workers and Teamster members gathered with state and community leaders at a forum on Thursday evening to investigate workers’ rights violations at the company’s facilities in Tracy, Calif. Workers gave testimony to a panel convened by California Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, describing brutal working conditions and Taylor Farms’ extreme anti-worker, anti-immigrant attacks on its employees.

“It is a grave injustice to hear that Taylor Farms is using all its resources and power to not only intimidate, but also place fear in these courageous workers who are fighting for a better life for their families and for themselves,” said Hernandez, chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment.

Workers and supporters packed the room at a local community center where workers like Laura Lopez described Taylor Farms’ poverty wages and retaliation against union supporters.

“I’ve worked at Taylor Farms for seven years and earn $9 an hour,” said Lopez. “As a single mom, it’s very difficult to attend to my family’s needs because I have to work long hours – sometimes as long as 14 hours a day, six days a week. Because of my union support, I have been systematically harassed and discriminated against. Last year, they gave all direct employees a 50-cent raise except me. I am certain this was due to my union support.”

As a direct Taylor Farms employee, Lopez says she pays $80 a week for family health insurance. But most workers aren’t even offered high-priced insurance benefits because they are contracted through temporary staffing agencies.

“I worked as a temporary agency worker for Abel Mendoza at Taylor Farms for nine years,” said Victor Borja, who was fired last year after injuring his foot at work. “I was afraid I would be fired because I had seen other coworkers get injured and one thing always happened if they reported it: they would get fired.”

Borja told the panel that a plant manager bluntly explained to him that the company did not care about his injury and, as a temporary employee, he was nonexistent in the eyes of the company.

Taylor Farms workers are currently trying to organize with Teamsters Local Union 601 in Stockton, Calif., but they have endured a vicious anti-union campaign by the company, including illegal firings, harassment of union supporters, armed intimidation and threats against immigrant workers.

In March, an election for union representation was held but workers’ ballots have been impounded by the National Labor Relations Board pending review of the company’s misconduct both before and during the election. The union has 43 active Unfair Labor Practice charges filed against Taylor Farms.

“The company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on so-called ‘union avoidance consultants’ whose job was to intimidate, threaten, harass and destroy the hope of the workers,” said Jose Gonzalez, another worker at yesterday’s forum. “The consultants organized a goon squad of anti-union supervisors and lead workers who terrorized us throughout the election period. The company posted armed guards on election day, which was very intimidating to workers.”

Workers also told that panel that the company threatened immigrant workers with deportation and used racist slurs to degrade Latino workers.

“In February, I noticed three different fliers posted in the facility – each one depicted a donkey and one showed the donkey dressed as a poor Mexican farmworker wearing a sombrero,” said Susie Serna, a Taylor Farms worker and strong supporter of the union. “This happened after a plant manager was heard referring to pro-union Latino workers as ‘burros’. This derogatory racist language was very insulting to people of Mexican heritage like me, and the company refused to take down the posters.”

In addition to oral testimony, workers and the union provided the panel with a packet of materials, including numerous worker stories about Taylor Farms’ abusive treatment and safety hazards at the facilities.

“This panel is calling on Taylor Farms to respect employees’ basic rights as guaranteed in state and federal laws,” said Assemblymember Hernandez. “We will continue to support the workers in their fight for a better life for themselves and their families.”

Taylor Farms is the largest supplier of fresh-cut produce and prepackaged salads in the country. It supplies to major grocers, retailers and restaurant chains, including Walmart and McDonald’s.

Teamsters Local 601 represents thousands of workers in the food processing industry. Taylor Farms workers in Salinas, Calif. are represented by Teamsters Local 890. Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at