On Friday, February 4 the Grand Rapids branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) will hold a solidarity action in support of a Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) campaign.
Since Labor Day of 2010 FLOC has been calling on people to engage in a divestment campaign against JP Morgan Chase Bank. JP Morgan Chase Bank is one of the lead banks in a consortium of lenders that provides $498 million dollars in credit to Reynolds American, one of the largest tobacco companies in the US.
While Reynolds American and JP Morgan Chase make billions, tobacco farmworkers continue to suffer serious human rights abuses in the fields. Although Reynolds does not directly employ these farmworkers, they determine the terms for contract growers, which directly affects the living and working conditions of farmworkers.
Reynolds American and JP Morgan Chase have the ultimate responsibility and financial resources to ensure safe and humane working conditions for tobacco farmworkers.
As a major lender to Reynolds, Chase has the stature and resources to convince Reynolds to improve conditions for tobacco farmworkers. Since May 12, 2010 FLOC has been asking Chase to use their influence to push Reynolds to address farmworker exploitation. To date Chase has refused to take any action.
The Grand Rapids branch of the IWW will be holding their solidarity action outside the JP Morgan Chase Bank branch at 1100 Michigan NE in Grand Rapids, near Fuller Avenue. IWW members will be calling on people to divest their money from JP Morgan Chase Banks and to support the struggle of farmworkers across the country. This action is one of dozens that are happening all across the country.
IWW member Cole Dorsey states, "We are participating in this action because the IWW believes that an injury to one is an injury to all. It is important for workers to act in solidarity with other workers when they are being exploited."
Contact information – Cole Dorsey 540-0243
Link to the FLOC Campaign http://supportfloc.org/ReynoldsAmericanCampaign.aspx