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Santa Fe Springs Dessert Factory Workers Reject Contract

Supervisor Janice Hahn stands in the middle of group of workers holding signs saying "on strike."
Supervisor Janice Hahn plans to boycott the company's products.
(Courtesy of Supervisor Janice Hahn)
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A resolution for workers in the seven-week Jon Donaire Desserts strike probably won’t come until 2022.

Employees voted down a contract proposal from the Santa Fe Springs company on Friday, Dec. 17, continuing a strike at the cake producer that started on Nov. 3.

This Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of sending a letter to Rich’s urging the company to bargain in good faith with the union. Supervisor Janice Hahn is planning to boycott Jon Donaire products.

“I know personally I'm not going to be buying any ice-cream cakes from Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone [or] Vons this holiday season,” Hahn said. “It isn't worth it for those mothers who are out there striking in the cold rain with their children.”

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According to a statement from Jon Donaire’s parent company, Rich’s, “Negotiations have reached impasse” with the rejection of this “final” contract. The company is offering their proposed wage increases, including back-pay and a year-end bonus, to employees crossing the picket line.

Karrie Setters, a special trustee at Local 37, the bakers union from BCTGM, says that wage increase starts at 50 cents an hour and is retroactive to July 5, which is when the contract with the company expired.

While the union says Jon Donaire has not reached out to return to the bargaining table, they’re hoping to receive a better offer.

“We're definitely not at an impasse, in my opinion, but we are aware that that is the position that they're taking,” Setters said.

According to striking employees, some decade-long staffers at Jon Donaire only make $16 an hour. Minimum wage in L.A. County is $15 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees.

“That's the tactic that they're playing, you know. They've got this idea that their offers are such great ideas. But the wages aren't there,” Setters said.

The strike at Jon Donaire went viral last week because of workers’ assertions that their time-off requests were routinely denied (even for medical visits), that they received little notice about working overtime and were held to unreasonably high cake production quotas. The location’s shop steward, Julissa Marquez, says they’re expected to produce 34 to 43 ice cream cakes per minute.

The company, staffed primarily by immigrant Latinas, makes the cakes sold at several large chains nationwide.

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