The demographics of the workplace are changing rapidly in North America and the BCTGM must adapt quicker than employers to be successful in organizing. A recent organizing campaign at the captive bakery at the Fiesta Mart grocery chain in Houston, Texas, is a case in point.
The bargaining unit of 131 bakers consists primarily of immigrant workers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. According to the campaign’s lead organizer, International Representative/ Organizer Cesar Calderon, the main issue was the verbal abuse the workers were subjected to by management. Supervisors routinely called the employees “stupid” and “good for nothing.” “This lack of basic respect for the workers was the foundation for a very successful organizing campaign,” International Vice President Tony Johnson reflected.
The subsequent organizing campaign included anti-union, anti-worker propaganda and mandatory meetings. “The fear in-stilled in the workers by the employer and the union-busting consultants was over-powered by a coalition of religious leaders, politicians, community leaders and affiliates of the AFL-CIO Houston Central Labor Council,” said BCTGM International President Frank Hurt. “This same alliance will be instrumental in a fight for a decent contract,” added Hurt.
In the June 30th representation election, the workers prevailed and are now represented by the BCTGM.
Special recognition goes to Local 163 (Houston) Financial Secretary Treasurer Donald Pierce, Local 111 (Dallas)rank-and-file organizer Victor Bernabe, and International Representative/Organizer Dale Nichols.
El BCTGM da la bienvenida a los panaderos de Mercado de Fiesta en nuestra familia de la union!