The vote Tuesday and Wednesday was the second time 280 Teamsters rejected a company offer that employees have complained increases their health care costs, the major sticking point in negotiations.
Union head Ed Speckman could not be reached for comment, and it’s unclear whether this week’s vote was similar to the outcome of a Jan. 2 vote, when workers rejected an offer by a 75 percent margin.
Leprino spokesman Robert Schwartz said in a prepared statement that the company offered workers a nearly 6 percent pay increase in the first year of the contract, plus a 1.75 percent pay raise in years two and three, as well as an increase in the amount of money Leprino puts into workers’ pensions plans.
The latest offer included a plan to let workers pay deductibles and other health costs with pre-tax dollars, the press release said, and it included a “safety net” for “severe, unexpected medical costs.”
The news release also described the proffered health plan as “high-quality” and “cost-effective,” but workers complained earlier this month a change in the health plan would mean more money out of their pockets to pay for medical costs.
Company officials vowed to continue to negotiate with the Teamsters, but it’s unclear how close workers might be at this point to striking.
Leprino has nine cheese-making plants, and it has owned its Tracy plant since 1977. It produces 300,000 pounds of cheese a day and employs 325 workers, and the company says it has a Tracy payroll of $16 million.