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Grand Rapids one of 200 cities participating in farmworker solidarity action

February 5, 2011

Yesterday, members of the Grand Rapids Branch of the IWW joined thousands of other people across the country at Chase Bank locations to show support for farmworkers who are being exploited by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Some members handed out flyers to Chase Bank customers to let them know about the campaign to pressure RJ Reynolds to meet the demands of farmworkers who pick tobacco. The flyers also encouraged people to pull their money out of Chase Bank until there was economic justice for the farmworkers. Chase Bank is the largest lender to RJ Reynolds, which is why the Farm Labor Organizing Committee called for actions all across the country yesterday.

Many people took the information flyers and several people talked to IWW members about the campaign. However, just minutes after IWW members arrived at the Michigan Avenue Chase Bank, the branch manager came out to tell people they could not be there and that if anyone parked in their lot they would have the car towed away.

Minutes later 3 GRPD squad cars showed up and told the IWW members that they could not be on the bank property and remove their signs that were planted in the snow along the sidewalk. IWW members remained for 90 minutes distributing flyers, talking with customers and holding signs for those driving by on Michigan Avenue.

GRIID spoke with IWW member Cole Dorsey about the action and another IWW member who went into the bank to close her account in support of the FLOC campaign.


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