The dispute between Oxnard's Nabisco Foods Co. plant and some of its workers received top billing at last weekend's civil rights conference of the Teamsters union.
Prior to the meeting, held in Washington, the Teamsters issued a press release listing examples of alleged "corporate efforts to destroy education, job safety enforcement, Medicare and other programs that help provide good jobs and a secure future for working families."
The first case cited was that of Nabisco's Oxnard employees. "They are building a community campaign to stop the company from eliminating jobs in retaliation for their efforts to win fair treatment," the union said.
Nabisco announced in August that it plans to lay off about 100 of its more than 500 workers in Oxnard as part of a plan to transfer production of A-1 Steak Sauce and Poupon mustard to the East Coast.
Just last week, the company announced plans to sell its Oxnard plant and its line of Ortega Mexican foods to a division of Nestle USA Inc. Therefore, the future of the remaining 450 Nabisco workers in Oxnard is still in doubt.
Nabisco denied that it is making sales and product transfers in retaliation for a lawsuit filed in March by some female employees who claimed they were denied adequate restroom privileges.
The layoffs are necessary for business reasons, Nabisco insists. The company says it will save money by moving production closer to where the products' customers live.