Twin Falls Potato Plant Workers Allege Union Busting

Jun 28, 2017

Workers at a potato processing plant in Twin Falls are set to vote on joining the local Teamsters union in mid-July.
Credit Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Workers at a Twin Falls potato processing plant are claiming the company is trying to bust up a bid to join a local branch of the Teamsters Union next month.

Employees of Lamb-Weston, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods based in Eagle that specializes in potato products, claim a so-called “union busting firm” has been hired to dissuade workers at a Twin Falls plant from joining Teamsters Local Union 483.

In July, 600 or so employees at the potato processing facility in the Magic Valley will vote on joining the local union. Workers say they’ve faced harassment and intimidation from a consulting firm hired by Lamb-Weston to “educate them about the company’s stance.” The employees say immigrant workers have been especially targeted.

In an email to the Times News, a representative with Lamb-Weston denies the claims of intimidation. The company says it’s following all regulations in communicating its perspective about union membership. The company says it’s contractually obligated not to reveal the consulting firm it’s using.

Lamb-Weston employees attempted to unionize several years ago, but it never came to a vote. While union membership in the state has declined overall since the 1980s when Idaho became a right-to-work state, Teamsters 483 has expanded its membership by 40 percent to around 700 workers over the last year and a half.

The potato processing plant workers will vote on joining the union in mid-July. They need 50 percent plus one to join.

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