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Teamsters Look to Darden Restaurant Group for Justice

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 General News J E 4
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Darden Food Supplier Eliminates Workers Health and Retirement Benefits

SALIINAS, Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A delegation of members from Teamster Local Union 890 presented Darden Restaurant Group, owners of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, with a letter today directed to Darden CEO Clarence Otis. In the letter, Hispanic religious, political and labor leaders detail how workers from Hollister, CA are seeking justice after a key Darden food supplier, San Benito Foods, decided to unilaterally eliminate the pensions and health insurance benefits of the 85 percent of the work force that is seasonal.

The decision by San Benito Foods will leave 400 workers, largely Latina women, without any form of health or retirement benefits. These workers rely on the health insurance once provided by San Benito Foods for themselves and their families. In most cases, the pensions, which have been cut, are the workers' only retirement savings.

"This is a huge blow to these workers and their families," said Crescencio Diaz, President Teamsters Local 890. "These workers provide back breaking, manual labor for San Benito Foods and deserve appropriate health care and opportunities for a dignified retirement."

Signatories to the letter included:

-- Pastor John L. Freesemann, Holy Redeemer Lutheran, Church of San Jose, Vice Chair, California Council of Churches IMPACT Board -- San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar -- Cesar Lara, Executive Director, Monterey Bay CLC -- Father Bill Leininger, Valley Interfaith Council -- Bill Chandler, Executive Director, Mississippi Immigrants Rights -- Monsignor Eugene J. Boyle, Human Concerns Commission, Diocese of San Jose -- Rev. Rebecca Kuiken, Valley Interfaith Council -- Crescencio Diaz, President, Teamsters Local 890 -- Assembly Member Anna Caballero, CA State Assembly 28th Dist. -- Eva Martinez , of Accion Latina in San Francisco -- Watsonville City Council Member Manuel Quintero Bersamin -- Eliseo Medina, Executive VP, Service Employees International Union -- San Benito County Supervisor Jaime De la Cruz -- Monterey County Supervisor Simon Salinas

SOURCE Teamsters Local 890
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