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: Safety

Hard hats were required throughout Plant #3, c. 1975.Between 1967 and 1999, safety was a major concern at Del Monte Plant #3, as work safety regulations became more stringent and union pressure more intense.  In these years, canneries in general were more dangerous than other work sites.  Many injuries were related to the chemicals used for cleaning machines and processing fruits, which could cause nausea or skin problems when spilled.  These liquids, combined with water and fruit juice, made floors in the cannery especially dangerous.  Increased mechanization brought more hazards into the workplace in the form of belts, engines, cutting machinery, and noise. 

Fortunately, at the same time, workplace safety became a serious concern of the state and federal governments.  New safety regulations required the placement of slip-proof floor mats, signs to warn of potential hazards, and safety gear provided by the company.  Del Monte supplied its workers with hard hats, rubber aprons and gloves, and earplugs.  Hard hats were especially important to protect workers from cans that might fall from the system of overhead conveyors.

Safety Sign at Del Monte Plant 3, January 2006.A few employees did suffer major traumatic injuries.  These were most often caused by mishaps with machines and hands.  Working on the quick production machines was no easy task and required constant attention.