November 15th As determined
as ever to win their right to real union representation and a decent and
fair first UE contract, Azteca workers are preparing to celebrate
Thanksgiving in high spirits. The picket line outside the Azteca Foods
plant in Chicago remains as solid as it was on the first day of the strike
by UE Local 1159 members nearly seven weeks ago.
Thousands of email messages have been
sent to Azteca from around the world while, locally, community, religious,
labor and activist groups have responded to the workers' call for help.
Supporters have called Azteca directly, while strikers have taken their
message to numerous gatherings. On Tuesday night, the Loyola University
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) held their most successful fund
raiser ever on behalf of the Azteca workers. Within the last two weeks,
activists have visited retail stores in Pittsburgh, Erie, Iowa City,
Raleigh-Durham and Milwaukee, talking to shoppers and store managers,
urging them to join the Azteca boycott.
In the Chicago area, Azteca workers have
been busy visiting retail locations where Azteca products are sold. They
also visited the director of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum to encourage him
to contact Azteca owner Arthur Velasquez, a major supporter of the
facility. Additionally, workers have been meeting with Catholic community
activists in their ongoing effort to end the strike.
Meanwhile, the significant pressure
campaign being mounted by allies (in and around Chicago and worldwide),
the campaign to end the strike may be bearing some fruit. Azteca has
relented on its refusal to meet with the union. A bargaining session, the
first since mid-October, has been scheduled for Thursday, November 21st.
As for the upcoming holiday, Azteca
workers are collecting donations for food baskets that will be distributed
to strikers on the picket line during a Thanksgiving celebration. They may
not be working, but they have found a tremendous amount of solidarity and
unity to be thankful for. You can help Azteca workers celebrate the
holiday through your support. Tell Azteca you won't buy their products by
email (here) or by phone: 1-800-475-7997. Contributions for food baskets,
and to support the strike, can be mailed to:
UE Local 1159
c/o UE District 11
37 S. Ashland Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607