We are proud to announce that after many months of negotiating, the hardworking men and women of Eastland Food unanimously voted 94-0 to approve their first union contract. The workers of Eastland Food, located in Cranston, Rhode Island, process, package, and ship raw vegetables and fruits that end up at our local grocery markets throughout New England. They voted to join UFCW Local 328 in May of 2016 and stuck together every step of the way to achieve this remarkable victory. When we first met these workers, we learned of many of the issues in their workplace including making less than minimum wage and having no paid vacations or paid holidays.
On Tuesday, February 27th, the workers of Eastland Food went on a one-day strike to pressure the company to be a responsible employer and come to the table with a better deal. This action was very successful and helped put them on a trajectory to winning their first contract. Victor Castro, an employee with 13 years with the company and a leader of the negotiating committee said after ratification, “This is a big day for all of us who work at Eastland Food. We are proud of what we have accomplished by sticking together”. The agreement contains wage increases each year of the three-year contract, paid vacations, paid bereavement leave, paid sick days and paid holidays. “We are so proud to represent these strong men and women of Eastland Foods who have stuck together in solidarity for two years to make a better life for themselves and their families”, said Timothy Melia, President of UFCW Local 328 and lead negotiator.
We would like to give our sincere thanks to the labor, community and faith organizations who supported the workers at Eastland Food throughout this process.