Friday, September 18, 2009

Champaign Activists Say “NO!” to Kraft

From Urbana-Champaign Independent Media center:

In an act of international solidarity, a small group of workers in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, picketed and passed out leaflets about the suppression of fellow workers by Kraft Foods Global, Inc. at a factory in Argentina. On September 17, 2009, workers also picketed a plant in Chicago, where Kraft has its global headquarters.

Kraft purchased a food factory in Buenos Aires owned by the Terrabusi company in 2004. This last July there was an outbreak of H1N1 flu virus at the plant. When workers were denied sick leave, they organized a strike. In response, Kraft fired approximately 150 workers, among them many union leaders.

Recently, workers were locked out of the plant and were met by police that, according to one source fired rubber bullets into the crowd of 1,000 people who had assembled.

In Champaign, activists stood at the corner of Mattis and Bradley with signs. A man representing Kraft who would only identify himself as “Brad” approached the group of protesters. He was barrel-chested man who probably weighed close to 250 pounds and was wearing a jacket that read “Jell-O” on the pocket. He wanted to know, was anyone was “bothering” or “harassing” the group? They told him not yet. He left and rejoined two grey-haired men who were also looking on.

The Kraft plant in Champaign is non-unionized, although it is the largest industrial employer in the area.

At the factory are manufactured some of the company’s best sellers including “E-z Mac,” mac and cheese, and Miracle Whip.

For more go to Chicago IMC:

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