Sac City Council Wades into Blue Diamond Labor Dispute
The Sacramento City Council has stuck its neck out into a messy labor dispute – and it involves the city’s largest downtown employer, Blue Diamond Growers, a major almond producer and marketer.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The council voted Tuesday night to send up to four of its members to talk with Blue Diamond management, workers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union … about a potential vote to join the union.
Councilman Steve Cohn acknowledges the city has no power to force the sides to hold the union vote – or even meet at all. But he says the council must speak on behalf of the community.
Cohn: “We had the power to give them a subsidy of some $10 million 10 years ago to help modernize the facility. I think that gives us the right to voice our opinion and ask them to try to settle their differences.”
In a letter, Blue Diamond president Douglas Youngdahl urged the council not to take action. He said the city has little direct knowledge of the dispute, no legal jurisdiction, and more important issues to focus on.