On the Picket Line

Calif. raisin workers reject contract, strike Sun-Maid

By Joel Britton
October 8, 2018

KINGSBURG, Calif. — More than 500 raisin workers went on strike here against Sun-Maid Growers of California Sept. 10. One hundred Teamster Local 431 members picketed the main entrance to the plant Sept. 22, chanting, “Sun-Maid, unfair!” “Si se puede!” and “One day longer! One day stronger!”

Suk Hvinder Chauhan, a machine operator and one of many strikers whose families are from India, told the Militant  that workers had voted three times to reject the bosses’ contract proposals that Teamster negotiators presented to them. They then voted to strike.

“The company is offering a 50 cents raise each year of the three-year contract, but they are demanding we pay about $80 a month for health care,” said striker Lydia Delgado. “That means losing money. And the deductible we would pay for using the health insurance is crazy — from $1,200 now for a single person to $3,600. For a family, we pay $1,600 deductible now and it would go up to $6,000.”

Strikers said they get lots of support, including food and water contributions, from working people in this town of 11,000, and union donations.