For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Michele Martin, UAW, 313-926-5291
Justin Flores, FLOC, 704-577-3480
Brandon Rees, AFL-CIO Office of Investment, 202-637-5152  
Rev. Charles Williams, People Before Banks,

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 -   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. 


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