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For united labor defense of the Chevy's Fresh-Mex workers!

by US Supporters of the FT-CI Thursday, May. 11, 2006 at 1:56 PM

Solidarity action is urgently needed for the workers at the Tracy, California "Chevy's Fresh Mex" restaurant, who were illegaly fired on May 2 in retaliation for their participation in the May 1 strike and demonstration in Stockton, CA.

Statement of US supporters of the FT-CI:


Solidarity action is urgently needed for the workers at the Tracy, California "Chevy's Fresh Mex" restaurant, who were illegaly fired on May 2 in retaliation for their participation in the May 1 strike and demonstration in Stockton, CA.

Fernando Martinez, speaking to the Tracy Press as a spokesperson for the fired workers, says that they gave a petition requesting a day off on May 1 to the management of the Mexican restaurant franchise, owned by Alan Beebe's CalMex, Inc. They returned to work on Tuesday thinking that their jobs were safe. Instead, the management ambushed them with notices of termination. Other kitchen workers at the establishment quit in protest. [1]

The racist oppression of latin@s in the US provides bosses, including many restaurants, with workers who are forced to slave away in dangerous and exhausting conditions for very low wages. The criminalization of immigrant workers, including HR 4437 and other racist laws that were the immediate targets of the May 1 national strike, intensify the conditions of super-exploitation. The firings were of a political nature, a retaliation against the protest action.

Although it is rarely enforced in the workers' favor by the capitalist courts, US law clearly prohibits the actions of CalMex, Inc. in firing the workers. The law firm of Neal, Gerber, and Eisenberg, which represents and advises large corporations in the US, issued a memorandum to its corporate clients on April 25 of this year that states:

"Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to engage in concerted activities for their "mutual aid and protection." In order for concerted activity to be for "mutual aid or protection," and hence, constitute protected activity, it must bear a sufficiently close relationship to the employees' interests as employees. While protests that are purely political in nature do not constitute protected concerted activity, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") and the federal courts have found some political activities protected where the participants expressed concerns that legislation or governmental activity would impact their job security, wages or other working conditions. For example, in Kaiser Engineers v. NLRB (1976), the Ninth Circuit enforced the NLRB's finding that employees who had engaged in protesting immigration law changes were engaged in protected activity where the employees claimed that their protest was to protect their job security which they believed the changes threatened, and thus, bore a sufficiently close relationship to their interests as employees and prohibited the employer from subjecting them to discipline for engaging in such activity." [2]

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has promised to file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint on behalf of workers fired because of their participation in the May Day protests. This defense action is legitimate, but it would be a grave mistake to rely on legalistic measures which are stacked against the workers, and can drag on for months without resolution. The working class must be mobilized in militant action to defend the fired workers at the Tracy Chevy's Fresh Mex!

We propose that picket lines be immediately organized by local unions and labor activists outside as many Fresh Mex locations as possible, with the demands of immediate reinstatement with compensation for all who were fired or quit in solidarity! [3] Furthermore, that the unions, student groups in solidarity, and activists collect funds for direct aid to the fired workers and those who have quit!

The cause of the Chevy's Fresh Mex workers is the cause of all workers, because to defend them is to defend the basic rights of all workers to employment and political activity in self-defense. United, the workers can beat back the bosses' greedy acts of revenge!

[1] http://tracypress.com/local/2006-05-04-worker.php
[2] http://www.ngelaw.com/news/pubs_detail.aspx?ID=594
[3] Locations can be found at http://www.chevys.com/map/now.html

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Chevy's in LA is in Burbank IMCer Thursday, May. 11, 2006 at 8:28 PM

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