Learn about the ongoing labor issues at Foster Farms:
Foster Farms Workers Rally Over Closed or Open Shop
On September 26, 2006, The Merced Sun-Star reported: “Hundreds of Foster Farms workers marched over the weekend to bring their contract struggles before the community in hopes of gaining its support. ‘We asked you to be here because there are certain problems we have with Foster Farms,” union leader Ralph Meraz told the crowd of about 400 on Sunday. “It’s an attitude problem — a bad attitude. We want the community to know and we want their support.’” Read the Full Story.
Workers Reject Foster Farms’ Offer
On August 25, 2006, The Merced Sun-Star reported: “The union representing Foster Farms employees rejected the company’s final contract offer Wednesday, but both groups are willing to continue negotiations. The offer failed with 1,603 members voting against it and 41 people voting for it, union leader Ralph Meraz said. The turnout represented about 70 percent of union membership, he said. ‘We didn’t recommend the offer,’ he said, ‘and we didn’t think the people liked the offer.’ Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 8:30 p.m. A main point of disagreement is what kind of union to have.” Read the Full Story.
Foster Farms Must Accept Union
On June 2, 2006, The Merced Sun-Star reported: “Foster Farms violated labor laws when it refused to recognize the affiliation between the two unions representing its workers, according to a ruling issued by Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson. The judge last week ordered Foster Farms to post a notice in its Livingston plant informing workers that the company broke the law.” Read the Full Story.
Immigrant Workers Revive May Day
On May 15, 2006, The Militant reported: “Poultry workers who are fighting for a union contract at the giant Foster Farms plant in Livingston, California, said that supervisors threatened them with disciplinary action if they missed work. But so many took the day off the company was forced to virtually shut down production in the afternoon. Employees who did show up for work sported white T-shirts in solidarity.” Read the Full Story.
Federal Judge Orders Foster Farms to Recognize Poultry Plant Union
On April 7, 2006, The Associated Press reported: “Foster Farms must recognize a union at one of its poultry processing plants and work out a new labor contract with the group, a federal judge ordered. Union leaders claimed that the company unfairly demoted people who supported an alliance between the Independent Workers of the San Joaquin Valley and the larger International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. One point of contention is whether workers would be required to join the small union, which the company opposed.” Read the Full Story.
Foster Farms Employee Crushed by Five Feet of Animal Feed Dies
On March 26, 2006, The Modesto Bee reported: “The Foster Farms feed mill supervisor who was crushed in a silo accident Wednesday died at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, the company said Saturday. Kevin Southerland, 51, reportedly was trying to remove corn that was stuck on the wall of a silo when the grain dislodged and came crashing down on him.” Read the Full Story.
Man Hurt at Foster Farms Calls for Change
On February 12, 2006, The Longview Daily News ran a follow-up story about a Foster Farms employee who was seriously injured when he was pulled on to a conveyor belt at the Kelso, Washington processing plant in February 2005. Gary Garza is calling on the company to revamp its safety training policies. Garza states: “I want to see if there have been remedies to help ensure there aren’t things still in place to precipitate this again. I really am concerned about that.” He describes his injuries as “a horrendous thing.” Read the Full Story.