After a Long Lull, 75 Workers Join California Local
On April 23, 75 workers at Wildwood Harvest Foods in Watsonville, California voted to join Teamsters Local 912 to gain job security and negotiate for better wages and benefits. The new Teamsters are production line workers and packers for the company, which produces tofu, vegetarian products and soy milk. The win is Local 912’s first organizing victory in approximately 25 years.
"The workers are concerned about recent cuts in benefits," said Brad Sebring, Local 912 Secretary-Treasurer, who took over as the local’s principal officer this past January. "The workers were also concerned about being replaced because the company recently formed a partnership with a Korean-based conglomerate. Most of the workers are immigrants from Mexico, and they were afraid of being replaced by other immigrants."
Local 912 received help from the International Union’s Organizing Department, which dispatched International Representative Eddie Rodriguez.
"Eddie was a big help in making the campaign successful," said Sebring, a 19-year member of the local, who worked at UPS for 19 years. "The International Union’s Organizing Department was a great partner."
Rodriquez worked closely with Local 912 Vice President Maria Santana. "We were out there hand-billing and talking to the workers," Rodriguez said.
"We want to build on this win and organize more workers. Organizing is a priority for me and for my leadership team here at Local 912," Sebring said.