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Asian-Food Distributor’s Workers Vote to Join Teamsters

September 25, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Santa Fe Springs, Calif.—Almost 20 years after they first tried to form a union, the workers at Wismettac Asian Foods voted 75-22 on Sept. 19 to join Teamsters Local 630 in Los Angeles. The Teamsters had begun organizing warehouse workers and drivers in April, and added clerks and temporary workers after the company, trying to dilute union support, insisted that they be added to the bargaining unit. Many temps have worked at Wismettac for years for minimum wage, no benefits, and no chance at a permanent job, the union added. Wismettac, a Japanese-owned importer, wholesaler and distributor of Asian food products, also hired three anti-union consultants. “The workers have had enough of management’s lies, retracted bonuses and the level of disrespect from the company, which spent half a million dollars to defeat the workers’ organizing campaign,” Local 630 organizer Oscar Ruiz said in a union statement. “These guys are dedicated and fearless in the face of intimidation.” Secretary-Treasurer Lou Villalvazo said the union would continue to organize the company’s “direct competitors” to prevent them from using low wages to undercut union food-service distributors in Southern California. Read more

September 25, 2017

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