Petaluma-based Amy's Kitchen embroiled in labor dispute

Amy's Kitchen is a true Bay Area original.

The organic prepared foods company also operates four fast-food drive-thru restaurants offering nothing but vegetation options.

The Petaluma-based company established 35 years ago has found itself embedded in a labor dispute over workplace health and safety issues.

Workers are now getting some help from a powerful labor union after alleging that Amy's Kitchen wants to work them like animals.

The company portrays itself as a family and employee-friendly business that runs on love.

"We want to be treated like family, like workers like they say," said Ines Delaluz, who works at an Amy's Kitchen plant. Adding, "They push so hard. Even on the line, they work too fast."

She said that has caused serious injuries to her and other coworkers.

"Doctors, they don't give me good news or good hope that I will be like before, 100%," said Delaluz.

Her daughter said she's very concerned about her mom.

"I don't want her to feel pain anymore. The things she does at Amy's is so much hard work," said daughter Natalie Crisostomo.

Crisostomo fears that if her mother keeps working at that pace, "it's going to get a lot more worse."

"We had a lot of pain in the back. A lot of pain in the hands. But they don't want us sick," said Delaluz.

"I've gone to doctor appointments with her and they've always told her the same thing like, 'You can't lift anymore.' 'You can't do that.' Sometimes I would see her at the table crying in the kitchen like she can't move anything," said her daughter.

The Teamsters Union said it's both helping the company's plant workers protest and ultimately, to unionize for better conditions and an escape from poor pay.

"The goal right now is that Amy's Kitchen, by the way of Andy Berliner, the owner, that he sit with these workers and their advocates, which is us to address all these health claims and all these workplace issues," said Ricardo Hildago, an organizer with the Teamsters Union.

After much prodding, Amy's Kitchen issued a statement to KTVU that said, "We have invested heavily in safety, well-being, and opportunities for our employees... because it's the right thing to do."