Cannery Life, Del Monte in the Santa Clara Valley

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Mission brand yellow cling peaches label

View a database that includes artifacts, photographs, and documents in the History San José collection which relate to Del Monte Plant #3 in San José, California.

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In Their Own Words

Beatrice and Friends

Learn about Del Monte Plant #3 from the people who worked there.  See videos of former Del Monte employees sharing their memories.

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Labor

Carmela, Beatrice, and Maria in the Del Monte Cafeteria, 1972.Throughout the later twentieth century, Del Monte Plant #3 continued to supply regular employment for men and women in the Santa Clara Valley.  Seasonal jobs on the production line adhered to the traditional schedule.  Seasonal jobs were also still typically filled by women, until affirmative action and societal changes started to have an impact on the plant in the 1970’s. Over these years, the ethnic makeup of the production workforce shifted to become predominantly Mexican-American. And the workforce became somewhat older, as long-time Del Monte employees stayed on and were promoted to positions of responsibility in the plant.

End of season party, c. 1970.Production and warehouse workers felt a strong commitment to each other and pride in working at Del Monte.  The cafeteria was a thriving space where line employees shared food and gossip, celebrated birthdays, and enjoyed time away from the plant’s mechanical maze.  Even after the plant closure, close friends and co-workers known as the “Del Monte Club” continue to meet regularly for lunch.