Striking Azteca Foods workers and community allies will hold a demonstration on Thursday, January 30th. 6pm at the Mexican Fine Arts Center and Museum, 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago. The workers have been on strike against Azteca Foods since September 30th.2002.
The strikers will be on hand to speak to attendees of a fund raising event being held at the museum on behalf of the Alivio Medical Center. The medical center’s Executive Director is Carmen Velasquez, sister of Art Velasquez who is the President and CEO of Azteca Foods. The strikers and their allies will be at the museum that night to expose Art Velasquez’s Azteca Foods’ true history and positions on health and safety matters.
The strikers point out that as Art Velasquez’s sister presents her clinic as serving the community, her brother has discontinued his workers’ health insurance at Azteca while they are out on strike. One of the many reasons for the strike is Azteca is demanding a 700% increase in worker health insurance costs, while offering the majority of workers just a 5-cent raise.
Just last year Azteca denied the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) access to their plant to allow for inspection of alleged federal law violations. In 2000, Azteca was cited for 12 violations of federal health & safety law, 10 of which were repeat violations. When OSHA finally inspected the plant after 3 weeks delay, they found two violations.
Chicago-based Azteca is one of the nation’s largest and most successful tortilla producers. Azteca’s CEO Art Velasquez is a prominent leader in the Chicago business and Latino communities.
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