December 19th It may be cold
on the picket line this Christmas, outside of the Azteca Foods Plant in
Chicago, but there's a great deal of warmth in the hearts of the Azteca
strikers. They're being warmed by a wealth of community support, both
locally and worldwide; support that helps keep their spirits high.
Unfortunately, Azteca continued its months-old strategy of foot-dragging
and stalling in a negotiating session held yesterday. Another session has
been set for January 8th.
In Milwaukee: More than 100
people turned out for a "Day of Action" in Milwaukee on December
10th, an event organized by the UE Local 1111 Rank and File Organizing
Committee (ROC). Participants included the President of the Milwaukee
Central Labor Council, Voces La Frontera, Community Union, Alderman Angel
Sanchez as well as many area unions offering solidarity with the Azteca
strikers. After the rally, activists leafleted a Kohl's grocery store and
sent a delegation into see the store manager. (Thanks to Mark Muszynski,
ROC coordinator and UE Local 1111 Chief Steward at Milwaukee's Rockwell
plant, who led organizing for the event).
In South Bend, Indiana: The
South Bend Indiana Central Labor Council presented a fine financial
donation to the Azteca workers, after striker Maria Montes outlined the
struggle so far and asked for help in exposing the Azteca situation on the
nearby Notre Dame campus. Azteca CEO Art Velasquez is a member of the
Notre Dame University Board of Trustees. Many Council delegates pledged
their solidarity. Thanks also to the Jobs with Justice coalition led by
Joe Carbone of the Communications Workers of America for all of their
support. If the strike continues, the students will return from their
winter break to focus again on Art Velasquez's role on campus and how they
can help bring justice to the Azteca strikers.
Posada Celebration: A local
Telemundo Television crew was on hand to cover the Azteca workers' Posada
Celebration on December 17th. Led by Fr. Peter McQuinn, pastor of Epiphany
Parish, workers marched from their picket line to the office doors of
Azteca under the watchful eye of company officials and the local police
department. The workers shouts of "Si Se Puede" could be heard
throughout the neighborhood as passing cars and trucks beeped their horns
in solidarity. The Christmas Posada is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph's
search for shelter on the night of Jesus' birth.
Chicago Fundraiser: A
successful fundraiser was held last Saturday night in Chicago showing
tremendous community support and the Azteca strikers' fabulous ability to
cut a rug or two. A DJ was there to keep everyone dancing.
How You Can Help: If you'd
like to help in this struggle, there are three main things we need: (1)
Calls to LaSalle Bank (click
here for details); (2) Email a boycott-support
message to Azteca;
(3) Make a donation.