The Road to A Better Life
Union Points the Way to Naven Vang’s American Dream
Naven Vang, a Steward at Foster Farms in Fresno, left Laos 13 years ago to escape oppression and violence and to find a better way of life.
Vang’s life has improved significantly since then, but it wasn’t until he began working under a Union contract that he and his family could enjoy good wages, paid vacations and health benefits.
Immediately after his arrival in the United States, Vang found jobs in a metal manufacturing plant, as a security guard and as a tree-trimmer. None of these jobs had the wages he has today.
Among the benefits he cherishes are Union-negotiated vacations and holidays. “When you have a family, you want to spend as much time with them as possible,” he said. “My paid holidays and vacations allow me to spend quality time with my wife and children and go on trips with them.”
Vang and his wife, See, have four children: two boys, ages 11 and 9, and two girls, 7 and 4.
He also appreciates his Union-negotiated health benefits. “When you have young children, it’s good to be able to go to the doctor when they become sick and not have to worry about how much it will cost,” he said.
Vang became a Steward shortly after he began working at Foster Farms. “I wanted to ensure that all members were treated fairly,” he said.
His excellent relationship with the company’s management allows him to solve problems before grievances have to be filed.
“They are diligent about calling me whenever there is a problem, so that I can represent the member,” he said. “I believe I am respected by both management and my co-workers, because I am honest with them. When a member is wrong, I’ll tell him. I’ll do the same with management.”