Labor

Agencies unite to help hundreds of laid-off HelloFresh workers: ‘I’m glad they were out there.’

Service providers in the East Bay have a message for the 611 workers laid off by HelloFresh in Richmond at the end of October: There are people and services available to help you find work. “You don’t have to navigate this by yourself,” said Carole “DC” Dorham-Kelly, CEO of Rubicon Programs, an anti-poverty nonprofit that is part of the Contra Costa Workforce Collaborative. Through service providers in the Collaborative, which includes nonprofits, adult education organizations, school sites, and community colleges,…

Final days for HelloFresh in Richmond, more than 600 workers face layoffs

On Wednesday, HelloFresh will close the Richmond facility it opened in 2015, putting 611 people out of work. For Julio de Leon, a HelloFresh driver for the past three years, the closure means losing income his family needs and having to start over.  “I depend on my HelloFresh check. And now, that check will no longer be on my table,” he said, in Spanish. “Starting over. Starting from zero, yet again, with new friends, with a new job. That’s the…

People of Richmond: Could you afford to take family leave?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Would receiving 90% of your pay enable you to take eight weeks off to care for a newborn or sick relative? “Yeah. I have a son that is autistic, I do need that kind of stuff. My mom. I do take care of them. It would be nice to have that.” (Sulaiman…

Newsom signs family leave expansion to benefit lower paid workers

On Friday, California expanded family leave benefits, making it easier for lower wage-earns to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 951, which extends for two years the family leave law that was set to expire at the end of this year. And in 2025, workers earning less than the state’s average wage — about $57,000 a year — will go from a…

Proposed increase in paid family leave could help many Richmond households

Ash Abbott, a 31-year-old single parent and math teacher at Kennedy High School in Richmond, was able to afford taking nine months of parental leave for the birth of their twins only by taking out private and student loans and buying necessities on credit. Now Abbott is in serious debt. “All of my credit cards are maxed out, which I’ve never experienced in my life,” says Abbott. “I’m living paycheck to paycheck, and I have more debt than I’ve ever…

Striking steelworkers make slow return to Chevron Richmond Refinery

After a nearly 10-week strike, about 500 steelworkers will gradually return to Chevron’s Richmond Refinery in the next four weeks, replacing contract workers hired to fill the gap left when workers walked off the job in March.  Their return comes after United Steelworkers Local 5 ratified a four-year contract with Chevron on Saturday, Jess Kamm Broomell, a union spokesperson, confirmed.  Neither the union nor the refinery has released details of the agreement. Reuters reported that the new contract does not…

Striking Richmond Chevron steelworkers replaced, as negotiations stall

Steelworkers at Chevron’s Richmond refinery are on the third day of a strike reportedly over wages and hours. About 500 workers represented by United Steelworkers Local 5 went on strike Monday. A day before the strike, the company replaced those employees with non-union members. “The transition was handled with professionalism and respect on all sides, in response to the union’s plan to begin the strike at midnight,” Chevron spokesperson Tyler Kruzich said in an email. In a news release posted…

Richmond’s HelloFresh workers get community, city council support in union effort

Down the stark road along Factory Street stands the 100,000-square-foot HelloFresh distribution center, where big rigs come in and out.  More than 900 people work there, most of them on assembly lines, preparing and packing the food kits that will later be loaded onto rigs and arrive at the dinner tables of millions of HelloFresh subscribers. Last year, the largest single COVID-19 outbreak in Contra Costa County occurred at the plant, with 171 cases recorded and one death, according to…

Richmond expands job opportunities year-round for city youth

Cinthia Hernandez was on the verge of dropping out of high school when she joined Richmond’s YouthWORKS in 2008. She credits the job program with much of her later success — an internship with the California Attorney General’s Office, a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley, and her current position of program assistant for the project that helped shape her.  “The summer youth employment program was able to open so many doors for me,” Hernandez said.  Over the…