On the Picket Line

Tomato cannery strike leaders win jobs back

By Joel Britton
October 15, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. — Four leaders of a tomato cannery workers strike at San Benito Foods in Hollister, who were framed up by the bosses and fired last year for participating in the walkout, have won their jobs back. They got full back pay and benefits of over $200,000.

Raymundo Fregoso, Daniel Miranda, Esteban Guillen and Arturo Macias Jr. were among some 100 year-round workers who initiated the one-week strike in June 2017 that won wage increases. Many among the 300 seasonal workers, mostly women, joined the strike. The union, Teamsters Local 890, fought against the firings, including taking their cases to arbitration.

As the Militant reported in its July 17, 2017, issue, the strikers “got solidarity from other workers. Railroad workers sent to pick up eight box cars of canned products wouldn’t cross the picket line and left the cars behind.” The bosses tried again, with the same result. Strikers “met the train again and again nothing moved.”

Teamster business agent Jose A. Perez Jr. told the Militant that the fired workers alleged “striker misconduct” was preventing the rail cars from moving. But the arbitrator ruled that the box cars didn’t move because of the actions of the rail workers, not the strikers.