A delivery driver for a San Antonio dairy company told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that he was fired for trying to organize a union and that the company used his firing to intimidate other workers who wanted to form a union. The union said that it would stand up for the driver and called for a support demonstration on October 5.
Alex Vasquez, a husband and father of two, who has worked as a delivery driver for Oak Farms Dairy Products for three years, identified himself as a union supporter in August shortly after the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union (BCTWGM) began an organizing drive at Oak Farms in San Antonio.
On August 31, Oak Farm fired Vasquez, and shortly after the firing, his picture appeared on a company bulletin board with a note saying that Vasquez’s dismissal was due to his “Union Activity.”
The company has said that Vasquez’s termination was for other reasons, but Vasquez told a reporter for a local Fox News television station that “It’s all because of the union, for organizing.”
Since his termination, Vasquez, the union, and union supporters have received help from State Representative Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas), who wrote Oak Hills CEO Gregg Engels telling him that by firing Vasquez, Oak Farms “purposely violated workers’ organizing rights” guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act and continued to do by posting Vasquez’s picture on a company bulletin board as a warning to other workers.
Alonzo also wrote that
Oak Farms’ actions cannot be excused as the accidental activity of an unknowing management. The parent company of Oak Farms knows full well what the law is and what a collective bargaining contract looks like since they bargain collectively with the BCTGM and other unions at other locations. Oak Farms Dairy Inc. needs to be reminded that Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guarantees that “Employees shall have the right to self-organize to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively…. And to engage in other concerted activities…” This federal Act which took effect over 7 decades ago (76 years, to be exact) is enforced by the National Labor Relations Board and applies to workers throughout the United States, including San Antonio.
The union plans to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board to get Vasquez back to work. “It would help for the government to investigate all these charges,” said Cesar Calderon, organizer for BCTWGM. “And once they find merit, ask the company to reinstate Mr. Vasquez.”
To support Vasquez and other union activists at Oak Farms, the union will be holding a rally and demonstration at the Oak Farms plant, 1314 Fredericksburg Road, on Wednesday, October 5 at 3:30.