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Just Desserts? Employee Who Was A Leading Voice In A Nearly 4-Month Strike Gets County Honor

A portrait of Luján front the waist up standing outside. She's holding a picket sign in front of a group of people that says, "On strike. Rich's. Jon Donaire. Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International union."
Cristina Luján on picket line.
(Courtesy L.A. County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO)
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An employee at Jon Donaire Desserts in Santa Fe Springs who was a leading voice in a strike that lasted 113 days was honored Tuesday by County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Cristina Luján, a 19-year employee at the dessert company, was named Woman of the Year for the Fourth District by Supervisor Hahn. Luján’s work earned her an invitation from Sen. Bernie Sanders to join a virtual town hall for national labor issues in January.

“I was honored to have had the chance to walk the picket line with the workers of Jon Donaire Desserts, side by side with Cristina,” Hahn said in a statement. “Now it’s our turn to honor her.”

Luján and her colleagues went on strike last November to gain better wages and treatment. But after the dessert factory’s parent company, Rich Products, declared an impasse in negotiations, the strike continued through February, when the union ratified a new agreement.

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The company makes many of the ice cream cakes sold at large chains, including Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin Robbins, and came under scrutiny for claims in a viral video that it required workers to produce 13 cakes per minute.

Though the strike gained nationwide attention, Luján has stayed humble about her leadership on the picket line.

“It feels great to be acknowledged for everything that you do,” Luján said in an interview. “I mean, I don't feel too extraordinary, but, you know, everything that I do is just part of who I am. Always trying to help and be the best person that I can be.”

Luján said her children were shocked when they overheard the call from Hahn’s office.

“They were like, ‘wow, like what mom, like really? You deserve this,’” she recalled. “They're always my rock. They're the ones that keep me going. They're my number one fans.”

Luján and other district honorees will be recognized on May 9 in a ceremony organized by the Los Angeles County Women's Commission.

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