V and V Supremo

2100 S Throop St
Chicago, IL 60608, US

Category: Strikes/Riots

Used in the following map:

Labor Trail

Video of Sarita Gupta Describing Jobs with Justice and the V & V Supremo Strike

In the spring of 2001, the 150 workers at V & V Supremo Cheese Company, went out on strike. Two-thirds of the workers were in production and fought for recognition, while the one-third were distribution workers who had union representation but no contract. As Sarita Gupta explains, the workers -- most of whom were Mexican immigrants, many undocumented -- were organizing through a core union, but needed to fight the widespread presumption that low-paid immigrant workers could not be organized. Teamsters Local 703 worked with Jobs With Justice, St. Pius Church, U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez, and many other community and faith-based groups. Together, they won public support through articles in the Latino press, and through at least forty-five actions at local stores where they pressured consumers and storeowners to refuse to purchase V & V products. The union also used non-traditional organizing tactics such as the card-check, an alternative to the National Labor Relations Board bargaining process that allows workers to secure union recognition if a majority of employees in the bargaining unit sign union cards within a given time frame. In January 2002, the V & V workers gained recognition for their Teamsters Local 703 union. Still, the owners of V & V Supremo refused to bargain with the union.