Sent: Saturday, January 7, 2012 5:03 PM
Subject: Oakland Occupy mobilization to support American Licorice workers Monday January 9 "hard picket"
I went to the Oakland Occupy Labor Solidarity Committee meeting on Thursday January 5 and want to relay some important information.
A group of workers and family from American Licorice--based in Union City and the maker of Red Vine Licorice--attended the meeting to seal an alliance with Oakland Occupy in their on-going strike.
My understanding of the particulars of this fight aren't great, but the long-and-short of it is that approximately 185 workers are on strike in a dispute that pivots around health care coverage for the apparently predominately Latino workforce. Management has threatened to fire striking workers but the strike has continued (tied into this is the fact that apparently inept and possibly stooge union hacks have failed to file papers that would legally shield workers from this threat).
The son of one of the factory workers told our "break-out" group that the dynamic has changed since a small number of Oakland Occupy folks came out to the picket line last week. He said that the sight of a visible presence of OO support "really rattled" management and he attributed the fact that it decided to come back to the negotiating table to the threat a small number of Occupiers represented. This bears repeating, so read that last sentence again. It is testimony, as I read it, to the fact that Oakland Occupy's mass actions--and in particular the port shut-downs--have caused the boss class to take a collective shit in its pants (a fact that should be rammed home in the face of the _________s who've claimed that the port shut-downs have been a distraction that "hurt the 99%"). The Union City police chief came down to the picket to find out "what was up" and then a helicopter was deployed to monitor the picket from on high. This because a handful of Oakland Occupy made a visible presence on a picket line!!
Negotiations are resuming on Monday (January 9). The union is legally forbidden from blocking scabs but strikers will be on picket lines. The OO Labor Solidarity Committee, at the request of striking workers, has agreed to participate in a "hard picket" that day--meaning a blockade of (apparently rather narrow) entry points through which scabs make their way, or are shepherded, to work. The plan is to maintain the hard picket for 24 hours starting at 5:30 am. The first two eight-hour shifts are considered the most vital. The implications of a visible Occupy role in catalyzing mass actions THAT SUCCEED in improving conditions for the working class are beautiful to contemplate and I hope as many of you as possible will make your way to Union City on Monday.
The American Licorice factory is located at 2477 Liston Way in Union City. Please tell others!
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