Centro Comunitario De Trabajadores C.C.T.
Community Workers’ Center
Street address: 1532 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1210, New Bedford, MA 02741
Phone: 508-979-1961
Fax: 508-979-1962
(New Bedford, MA): Today, the Central American employees at Bob’s Tire, a recycling
company located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, made a little bit of working-class history
by voting for the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) to represent them
in collective bargaining with their employer. Nearly all the employees at Bob’s Tire are
members of the K’iche’ ethnic group from Guatemala, and this is the first time that a group
of Maya workers in New Bedford have organized a union. It also represents an historic
collaboration between an immigrant workers center -- the Centro Comunitario de
Trabajadores – and a national union. Voting started at 6 a.m. and continued until 1 p.m.,
when an official from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which supervised the
election, opened the ballot box and counted the votes. Under the watchful eyes of
representatives of the company, the workers, the union and CCT, the official unfolded the
ballots one by one. The final count was 65 votes for the union, 5 votes against the union,
and 6 contested ballots.
The recycling industry is one of the major employers of Central American workers in New
Bedford, and it is an industry that is notorious for health and safety violations, lack of
benefits, and workplace accidents. This is grueling work, and the employees work outdoors
regardless of the weather, lifting hundreds of pounds of used tires. Since January, the
workers at Bob’s Tire had been engaged in discussions with company management about
improving conditions at their workplace, including salary increases, adequate space for
meals, and paid sick leave. Many of the employees have worked at Bob’s Tire for over a
decade, and some are making the same wages as when they started. Although the company
agreed to a modest wage increase, it was never implemented, and when the four-member
workers’ committee went to talk with the management again in August of this year, they
were all fired. This was when they came to CCT to seek help and advice, and CCT laid out
several options, including trying to set up a union. The workers decided that they wanted
to unionize, and CCT brought the workers and the UFCW together.
Adrian Ventura, the executive director of CCT, was full of emotion when he learned the
results. “This sends a message to other workers, that they don’t have to put up with unsafe
working conditions, intimidation and mistreatment. And it sends a message to other
employers, that they need to treat their employees right.”
For more information, contact CCT at or 508-979-1961.