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Friday, Feb. 19, 2010 at 4:17 PM
In a strong show of solidarity, the UFCW (the retail stores and food union) delivered 500 bags of groceries to miners who have been locked out of their jobs by their boss, Rio Tinto.
From the International Longshore Workers Union press advisory:
Contributions from millions of working families across America will help buy groceries for nearly 600 families who were locked-out of their jobs on January 31st by the Rio Tinto Corporation, a giant foreign-owned mining firm that operates one of the world’s largest borax mines near the town of Boron in California’s Mojave Desert.
A truck filled with groceries purchased with contributions from the 15 million families who belong to the AFL-CIO is expected to arrive shortly before noon on Monday, February 15th at the Local 30 union hall in Boron: 24001 Chaparral Avenue (take Highway 58, exit Borax Road, go south one block).
Community volunteers will unload food from the truck and help fill more than 500 grocery bags that are being delivered to families in the coming days.
Most families will receive their groceries on Tuesday, February 16th, when union leaders from around the world will arrive in Boron to meet with the locked-out families. The families and supporters will march together one mile through the desert carrying American flags until they reach the entrance of Rio Tinto’s mine, where families and workers will tell company officials, “Let us work, we want to work!”
Rio Tinto decided to lock-out the workers in an effort to starve families into signing an agreement that would let the company convert good full-time jobs into part-time temporary positions that pay little or no benefits.
“We’re just like everyone else in America who’s tired of seeing good jobs turned into ‘junk jobs’ with no benefits,” says Terri Judd, a military veteran who operated heavy equipment at the mine for more than a decade until Rio Tinto put her and almost 600 other workers out of work on January 31st.
“We’re drawing the line in Boron, because this same sort of thing is happening to working families all over America,” said Judd. “It has to stop somewhere, and it might as well be here in Boron. We’re doing this for our families, our communities, and for everyone who agrees with us that ‘part-time America won’t work.”
Foreign-owned Rio Tinto reported net profits of nearly .87 billion dollars in 2009, an increase of 33% over net earnings of .68 billion reported in 2008. Rio Tinto’s mine in Boron produces almost all of the nation’s borax, a versatile mineral used to make many products, including glass, wood preservatives, fire retardants, laundry detergents, and fertilizers.
These miners paychecks are the lifeblood of a tiny town like Boron. Without good wages, the community will disintegrate. Revenues at stores and restaurants will decline.
Borax is an important mineral in our everyday products, like laundry detergent. Here's an article with info:
Borax forms in playas, where water runoff from mountains gathers, dries out, and minerals in the water solidify.
Information about the lockout.
Definition of a lockout: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockout_%28industry%29
Videos of the Rio Tinto lockout situation (seems to be from a daughter of one of the workers).
WSWS story on the stiuation:
Upcoming event: a caravan to support the miners.
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