November 25th — As the word
about the Azteca Foods strike spreads throughout Chicago, UE Local 1159
members are enjoying ever-greater levels of community support.
Workers met Chicago’s Cardinal George
in front of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, where the Cardinal attended a
fundraiser for the Chicago area organization Casa Jesus. Azteca Foods CEO
Art Velasquez is a member of the museum’s board of directors. Cardinal
George agreed to look into the issues at the heart of the strike.
Strikers and supporters recently visited
dozens of grocery stores in the Chicago area to encourage store managers
and customers to support the national boycott of Azteca Foods tortillas,
tortilla shells and chips. Also, strikers talked to Chicago’s Pilsen
area residents and distributed leaflets that explain the boycott and
reveal the "two faces" of owner Art Velasquez.
Strikers have been attending meetings of
allies and participating in activities in and around Chicago, including a
United Food and Commercial Workers press conference and a rally of Chicago
The Progressive Student Alliance of
Notre Dame University met with strikers to learn the Azteca story
first-hand. The students agreed to contact the Azteca CEO by phone to
remind Velasquez — a member of the University’s Board of Trustees —
that he should adhere to Catholic social teaching and negotiate a fair
Notre Dame’s progressive students also
placed an ad in the campus newspaper, an open letter calling on Velasquez
to end his unfair treatment of workers who have helped him a millionaire.
To send a message that they will last
one day longer than Azteca Foods, the strikers have put up a Christmas
tree on their picket line. "The cold weather will not get us to end
this strike without a fair contract," said a striker. "They can’t
freeze us out! When will Art Velasquez listen to us and learn?"