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Michele Martin, UAW, 313-926-5291 Justin Flores, FLOC, 704-577-3480Brandon Rees, AFL-CIO Office of Investment, 202-637-5152 Rev. Charles Williams, People Before Banks, 734-652-6382
The agreement reached by President Obama with Republican leadership, including a two-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest in return for a one-year extension of unemployment insurance for families decimated by joblessness, is the wrong way to stim
Demonstrators Demand Action to Stop Foreclosures and Address Squalid Conditions Faced by Tobacco Farm Workers
WASHINGTON - December 10 - Trade union leaders, ministers and activists supporting farm workers and victims of bank home foreclosures will protest at 100 Chase Bank branches from coast to coast on International Human Rights day, Friday December 10 at 12 noon. Handing out flyers to bank customers, the protesters are calling on JP Morgan Chase to institute a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures and use its influence as the lead banker for Reynolds Tobacco to facilitate talks that could lead to improved conditions in America's tobacco fields and farm labor camps.
"With my own eyes, I witnessed the squalid conditions farm workers are forced to live and work in, " said United Auto Workers President Bob King, one of the protest organizers. "Chase Bank has an opportunity and a social responsibility to bring Reynolds Tobacco to the table to stop this human exploitation." Although neither Chase not Reynolds directly employ farm workers, both are in a position to address conditions in the fields and labor camps.
The protesters' flyers cite Wall Street Journal reports that Chase is number one in home foreclosures. "Chase is the home foreclosure Prince of Darkness," said Rev, Bill Wylie-Kellerman of Detroit's St. Peter's Episcopal Church. "They are throwing hundreds of thousands of American families out into the cold. This must stop."
Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, is hoping the protests will move Chase Bank to demand socially responsible behavior up and down the tobacco industry supply chain. "Farm workers face job-related hazards including heat stroke, pesticide and acute nicotine poisoning," Velasquez said. "If Chase wants to continue lending money to cigarette manufacturers, it should facilitate talks that could lead to improved conditions and saved lives."
Bob King and Baldemar Velasquez are vice presidents and executive council members of the AFL-CIO. Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman is a founding member of the anti-foreclosure campaign, People Before Banks.