Chicago, Il., February 17th, 2003 After
months of persistent requests by UE, backed by tremendous community and
worldwide support, Azteca Foods CEO Art Velasquez has agreed to accept
Federal Mediation in contract negotiations. In exchange for mediated
bargaining, the rally at LaSalle Bank Headquarters in downtown Chicago on
Tuesday (February 18) at 4:15pm has been cancelled.
MEDIATION WELCOMED; NO GUARANTEE
While Azteca workers welcome Azteca's acceptance of federal
mediations in their struggle for justice, they know that mediation provides
no guarantee that the company is ready and willing to negotiate a fair first
contract. They are, however, hopeful that this development indicates that
real progress can finally be made at the bargaining table.
Azteca workers have on the picket line since September 30th
in a strike sparked by Azteca's use of threats and
surveillance last summer. In addition they are fighting unjustified
takeaways by the company.
Members of UE Local 1159 know that they must continue to
pressure the company for a fair contract, despite the breakthrough Azteca's
acceptance of mediation represents. They deeply appreciate all of the local
community support and the solidarity messages that have been sent on their
behalf by people worldwide.