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Co-Op Board Votes to Support Boycott —
Chicago Food Co-Op
Stands with Workers

CHICAGO, January 29, 2003 — Workers on strike against Chicago-based Azteca Foods have declared a major victory as the Hyde Park Food Co-op announced it would support the national boycott against Azteca. Meeting last night, the Co-Op’s Board of Directors voted to stand with the workers and not stock Azteca tortillas, shells, chips or Buena Vida tortillas until the strike has ended.

Many allies including the University of Chicago's United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) chapter as well as members from Seminarians for Worker Justice were on hand to voice their support for the strikers. As the board voted unanimously in support of the resolution with only one abstention, the crowd in the packed community meeting room at the Co-op's 47th Street location cheered wildly.

Josefina Bonilla, an Azteca worker who addressed the board prior to the vote said, "The Hyde Park Food Co-op sent a very strong message last night to Art Velasquez (Azteca Foods President and CEO) that union busting will not be tolerated by the Chicago community. We really appreciate the Board's solidarity and the support that they are giving us in our fight for a fair contract."

The workers will continue to urge other grocers across the country to support the boycott. Repeated attempts to contact management at Chicago's Jewel Stores have gone unanswered. Jewel has yet to respond to the workers request for support of the national boycott.


In other news, strikers attempted to confront Azteca Foods President and CEO Art Velasquez this morning at a breakfast meeting sponsored by Peoples Energy Chairman, President and CEO Tom Patrick. The business event was hosted by Azteca's Velasquez at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum in Chicago. Curiously enough, as strikers and supporters handed out a leaflet entitled, "Why Should This Man Be Ashamed?", Velasquez slipped in the museum's side door to avoid coming face to face with the workers.

Thursday night at 6pm, the strikers will return to the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, 1852 W. 19th. Street, Chicago to demonstrate outside of a fund raising event sponsored by the Alivio Health Center. Alivio's director is Art Velasquez's sister, Carmen. Art Velasquez is also a major fundraiser for the medical center.

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“We have no dispute with any person other than Azteca Foods,
and we are not asking anyone to cease picking up, delivering or transporting
any goods, or to cease performing any work or services.”