Centro Comunitario De Trabajadores C.C.T. Community Workers’ Center Street address: 1532 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA 02746 Mailing address: P.O. Box 1210, New Bedford, MA 02741 Phone: 508-979-1961 Fax: 508-979-1962 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 9/23/15 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: IMMIGRANT WORKERS TAKE HISTORIC STEP BY VOTING IN UNION (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 email@example.com or 508-979-1961.