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-Ops 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.
SIDE DOOR ENTRANCE
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.