Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 6, 2006)
Richmond Baking workers okay first Local 114 contract
McMINNVILLE, Ore. — Workers at a small industrial bakery
here approved their first-ever union contract Sept. 26 — nine
months after they voted to join Local 114 of the Bakery, Confec-
tionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union
The bakery, one of three owned by Richmond Baking, produces
organic cookies and crackers, cracker meal, and batter mixes for
the wholesale market.
Unionizing meant dignity, improved safety and a pay raise for
the 11 employees. It also takes pressure off union workers at a
larger facility in Indiana.
Terry Lansing, secretary-treasurer of Local 114, said BCTGM
represents over 100 workers at a Richmond Baking facility in
Richmond, Indiana. The company has been family-owned since
1902, and the Indiana plant has been union for generations. But the
latest generation of company owners decided to try to “whipsaw”
the union in contract negotiations last year, suggesting production
would be shifted to nonunion bakeries in McMinnville and Alma,
Georgia, if the union didn’t make concessions.
It turned out that the McMinnville workers were eager to organ-
ize, thanks in part to a history of verbal abuse from the local man-
Richmond quality control worker Dena Ochoa was engaged to
marry co-worker Darren Thomas, who had been a Bakery Union
member earlier. They decided to give the union a call, and met with
Lansing and other staff to plan a campaign.
While low wages, safety concerns and job security were con-
cerns, Lansing said the biggest issue was how they were treated by
the plant manager — always feeling their jobs were in jeopardy,
and having to listen to how the manager talked to them and other
On Dec. 27, 2005, Richmond workers filed a petition with the
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requesting a union elec-
tion. Later that day, after the NLRB notified the company by FAX,
the Richmond manager called Ochoa at home and fired her over
the phone. Ochoa was hosting a union meeting when she took the
manager’s call, and she put the call on speaker phone so she’d have
Local 114 immediately mounted a legal defense, filing a charge
The Sept. 26 contract ratification meeting. Left to right: Business
Manager Terry Lansing, Josh Rinne, Dexter Salisbury, Jeremy
Brown (negotiating team member), Trinidad Quintero (kneeling
in front of Jeremy), Mario Aldaco (negotiating team member),
Lacey Kreiger, Business Represenative Gene Beaudoin (kneeling,
BCTGM 114), Cory Kovalski (standing behind Lacey),
Angelina Garcia, TR Arriola, Rodolfo Cortez and Kyle Headings
the next day with the NLRB, the federal agency supposed to guard
workers’ right to unionize if they choose to do so. The charge said
Ochoa was fired because of her legally-protected union activity.
Local 114 also got her a job at another union bakery — Orowheat.
The NLRB set a March 1 date for a union election, and the
campaign heated up. The day before the election, Local 114 filed
another charge with the NLRB, saying management was continu-
ing to break the law in its anti-union campaign. According to the
We’re Changing To
Meet Your Needs!
union, Richmond interrogated employees about the union cam-
paign and threatened the loss of raises.
Workers went ahead with their election, voting 6-2 to unionize
March 1, 2006. A day later, the company told workers they weren’t
allowed to leave their work areas anymore because they’d voted in
a union, and went back on a promise to promote an employee who
was believed to have supported the union.
BCTGM representative Eric Anderson led a full-day steward
training for all the workers. They needed to know their rights.
The election result, however, meant the company was legally
obligated to recognize the union and to bargain a contract.
Workers filed a detailed safety grievance with the company,
ranging from railings on the catwalks to guardrails on platforms on
top of silos where workers changed filter screens. Richmond re-
sponded, and fixed numerous problems, Lansing said.
After five months, Richmond Baking settled the NLRB charges.
While not admitting guilt, the company agreed Aug. 29 to post a
notice promising not to do what it had been accused of, and to
award Dena Ochoa (now Dena Thomas) $6,000 in back pay. She
waived her right to reinstatement.
After 11 bargaining sessions and the assistance of a federal me-
diator, the two sides reached agreement Sept. 23 on a first union
contract. The pact contains immediate hourly raises of between 50
cents and $1.75, and 25 cent annual raises thereafter; workers
make $9 to $10 an hour. It also includes a grievance procedure,
overtime pay after 10 straight hours, safety protections, holiday,
vacation and bereavement leave, seniority rights for layoff and re-
call, job bidding, vacation selection procedures, pension provi-
sions, continuation of medical coverage while on medical leave,
and limits on the use of temporary employees — temps become
permanent if they work 60 days in four months. And it has “just
cause” protection — meaning employees can’t be disciplined arbi-
trarily — management has to document violations of specific rules,
and has to follow reasonable rules before issuing discipline.
“It’s better — working with a union,” said Mario Aldaco, lead
sanitation worker on swing shift. “You feel protected,”
Thomas left Orowheat for personal medical reasons, but hopes
to return. She credits the union for the defense, and for the feeling
of empowerment co-workers felt.
Did you know your Credit Union offers
three types of checking accounts?
Safety toe or reg.
Try a pair on, you’ll like them.
Tough boots for the Northwest.
Freedom Plus Checking
Call today and find out what type of
checking account is right for you .
Open a checking account between
August 1st and October 15th and receive
your first box of basic checks free. Apply
for a loan during this time & the
application fee is waived!
PO Box 16877
9955 SE Washington St
Portland, Oregon 97292
OCTOBER 6, 2006
(503) 253-8193 ext. 300
(800) 356-6507 ext. 300
Or visit us online at www.ibewuwfcu.com
NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
5811 SE 82nd, Portland 503-771-2130
Mon-Fri 10-7:30 Sat 10-5:30 Sun 12-6
Masonry Trades Union
Brick & Tile Finisher
Must be at least 18 years old.
Must have copy of either a
high school diploma or GED
at time of application.
Applications being taken
Tuesday, Oct. 31,
Wednesday, Nov. 1 and
Thursday, Nov. 2
from 8 a.m. to noon and
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at
12812 NE Marx St.
Portland, Ore. 97230