On February 3, workers at Ardent Mills in Colton, California voted by a 2-1 margin to join Teamsters Local 166.
The workers make and handle flour. The vote was 15-8 and there are 24 workers in the bargaining unit.
“The workers are desperately seeking respect and fairness on the job and we will work hard to negotiate a contract that addresses their needs,” said Mike Bergen, Local 166 Secretary-Treasurer.
“We have had a hard time with a supervisor and we needed to form our union to begin getting treated fairly,” said Raul Alvarez, a warehouse lead worker and three-and-a-half-year employee. “Our health insurance is also very, very expensive. I pay $320 a month out-of-pocket for a family plan with very high co-pays.”
Alvarez said he and his co-workers are very happy about the vote.
“It feels good to be a Teamster, really good,” he said.
The unit consists of warehouse workers, assistant millers, shift millers, lab technicians and maintenance workers, said Andy Budai, a Local 166 Business Representative. “The workers remained strong and united despite the company’s anti-worker campaign,” he said.
“The workers want an end to the favoritism that is taking place,” said Joe Maae, an organizer with Local 166. “They need fairness and respect. Some workers are required to do other jobs. They need fair, consistent work rules.”