LONG BEACH — About 100 striking workers who protested wages and working conditions at the Hyundai steel plant in Long Beach last week returned to work Monday after company officials agreed to let employees hold an election to decide whether to join the Teamsters Union.
Hyundai employees, who picketed outside the Paramount Boulevard plant for three days, have been seeking union representation in negotiations with the company since late January. Workers will vote on the issue Feb. 12, said Armando Venegas, president of Teamsters Union Local 692.
Venegas said employees went back to work after attorneys for Hyundai agreed to let workers hold the election. "There was some talk about striking until Feb. 12, but I talked them out of it," Venegas said. "We got what we wanted for now. There's no need to hit back at the company."
If workers vote in favor of joining the union, company officials "will begin negotiations with the Teamsters immediately," said Andy Peterson, an employment attorney for Hyundai. "The company all along has said they would let the employees decide what they want to do," Peterson said.
In 1986, Hyundai employees voted against joining the Teamsters. This is the first time since the Long Beach plant opened in 1985 that workers have gone on strike, Peterson said.