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Participants Demand That Valley Produce Respect Its Workers Who Have Been On Strike For More Than One Month During COVID-19 Pandemic
LOS ANGELES CA, On the morning of Thursday, July 9, elected leaders including Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin DeLeon, California Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, and Congressmember Jimmy Gomez joined community members in a caravan to the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market in support of striking essential workers at Valley Produce. This company is the largest and most profitable distributor at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, yet it is denying its workers dignity, respect, and a voice on the job. At the beginning of the press conference on the picket line, Teamsters Local 630 Secretary Treasurer Lou Villalvazo stated, “ It’s a shame that Valley Produce is using government loans to harass and intimidate their workers. Today we want to show Valley Produce, that our elected officials and community members have their eyes on them and that their disrespect of working people must end.”
Los Angeles City Councilmember, Kevin DeLeon who was recently elected to represent the district that includes the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market stated, “This facility represents an economic engine for our communities during the current pandemic. We need to ensure that these workers are treated fairly. I support these workers on strike because they are members of our community who depend on good union jobs to provide for their families.” Assemblymember Miguel Santiago stated, “It’s a shame that Valley Produce is choosing to violate the law and refuse to bargain in good faith with its employees. We demand that this employer be a good steward of its resources and obey our country’s laws which say that workers have a legal right to bargain for better working conditions.
State Senator Maria Elena Durazo stated, “Teamster Essential workers like those employed at Valley Produce have served bravely on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their lives on the line to ensure that thousands of restaurants, grocery stores, and schools are stocked, helping to feed millions of families throughout Southern California. These workers need our support to ensure that they win this fight for justice.”
Congressmember Jimmy Gomez followed up by stating, “It’s obscene for profitable companies like Valley Produce to receive taxpayer-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 small business relief efforts while ripping off workers and their families,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez. “If you are willing to take public money, that means to me that you should have to share it with workers. And that means higher wages and benefits. That’s what this is all about.”
While standing next to striking Valley Produce workers, Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor stated, “Valley Produce employees have enjoyed the benefits of a Teamster Union Contract for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, during current contract negotiations, Valley Produce CEO Carrie La Londe and Co- CEO Dough La Londe offered its workers no wage raises and decided to hire an expensive Union Buster to intimidate and discourage workers from exercising their rights to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits. This is wrong and that’s why we are here today standing shoulder to shoulder with our Brothers to tell them that the LA Labor Movement will be here with them until they win this strike.”