Teamster rift jeopardizes Firebaugh training grant

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (AP) Firebaugh City Manager Jose Ramirez said the Tomatek plant would have used the $425,166 state grant to train workers on computer software and to improve their manufacturing skills.

But labor organizer Fritz Conle says the state shouldn't give money to a company that is cutting medical benefits. It has caused a rift within the Teamsters, which has workers in both plants.

Firebaugh suffers a 28 percent unemployment rate, mostly because the drought has eliminated many farm jobs.

The Hollister plant operates seasonally.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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