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Movimiento Cosecha GR kick’s off their Boycott Turkey Campaign

November 2, 2017

Last night, in front of the downtown branch of the Grand Rapids Library, the Grand Rapids chapter of Movimiento Cosecha kicked off its campaign to boycott Turkey and turkey products through the rest of the year.

The campaign began with Erica (pictured on the left above) talking about her experience working at Michigan Turkey, which has 2 poultry processing plants in the Greater Grand Rapids area. She said that after working on the processing line, where her job always involved pulling, she been to experience pain in her one hand.

The very next day, her supervisor notice that there was some discoloration in her hand and asked her what was wrong. Fearing that she would lose her job, she said it was nothing. The next day, she was asked to train someone to do what she did and then the supervisor asked her to sign a document saying she was quitting. She refused, but the supervisor said their was nothing he could do, so even though she did not sign, she was still fired.

After Erica shared her story, Gema Lowe with Movimiento Cosecha GR spoke about her own story as an immigrant working in Michigan. She stated:

My name is Gema and I immigrated to the Grand Rapids area more than 20 years ago. In all these years, I have worked in several jobs, almost all in factories where most of the workers were also immigrants. It was not until something drastic happened in my life and I suffered an accident at work that left me unable to work, and as a result I lost my home and most of the things that I was able to have with all my years of work. It was then that I understood the many abuses that immigrants suffer and how these companies take advantage of the fear that immigrants have of being deported so that they can pay low wages and not to provide the benefits and protections that workers have, such us workers compensation.

At this point Gema then talked about the power that immigrants have, considering the fact that if most immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants went on strike, the country would be deeply impacted. This is especially the case in the food industry, where most migrant labor is done by immigrants, as well as the slaughterhouse industry.

Gema then stated:

Right now in the poultry industry there is exploitation of immigrant hands where they are denied their most basic rights and needs such as going to the bathroom. The production line is constantly producing more than one bird per second and the workers are not replaced in their work stations so they have reached the point that they have to go to work wearing adult diapers because they are being exploited and violated on their rights.

Recognizing that all the food that is on our tables during these end of the year festivities has been cultivated, harvested and processed by immigrant hands, we invite you to make the sacrifice of not eating turkey to honor the work of immigrant workers and we invite, when you are together with your families at the Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas or New Year to remember that our immigrant brothers and sisters whose families may not be together because they have been separated and won’t be able to celebrate because their family members have been deported.

Movimiento Cosecha GR is call for a boycott of all turkey and turkey products to demonstrated their economic power until their demands are met. Those demands include – Respect, Dignity and the Permanent Protection of all Immigrants, regardless of their status.

The boycott campaign will include many other activities over the next few months, but for those who want to get involved, please contact Movimiento Cosecha GR by going to their Facebook page

Below is a flyer they will be distributing in English and Spanish to inform people about the boycott and their movement for immigrant justice.


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