Saturday, April 2, 2011

Workers in Atlanta allowed to protest.

Grocery store workers win
right to join Atlanta march 

ATLANTA—More than 30 workers from the H Mart supermarket in Duluth, Georgia, participated in the March 24 rally for immigrant rights here. H Mart workers from stores in Suwanee and Riverdale also attended the rally, which was called to oppose two anti-immigrant bills being considered in the state legislature.
Workers became aware of the action through the Spanish-language press and radio and talk in the community. On March 17 workers in the grocery department at the Duluth store started to talk about how to get off work. One worker said, “If we all go together, the manager can’t do anything because majority rules.” Someone else asked, “What will we do if he threatens to fire some people?”
Another worker replied, “If he says that, I will tell him that this is something we have to do for ourselves. The boss has never done anything for us. We are going to the rally to defend ourselves from these laws, which will make our lives more difficult.”
The workers in the department continued the discussion in the following days and agreed to stick together. They decided that if the boss fired anyone, everyone would walk out.
One worker talked to the boss and told him of the plan not to work on the day of the rally. He asked the boss to tell all the department managers that the workers wouldn’t be there. Two grocery workers talked with workers in the produce department.
The day before the rally, the boss called all the employees together and announced that no one would be fired for going, but he said that the Korean workers couldn’t go because he needed them to keep the store open.
In spite of this divisive tactic, workers considered it a victory that so many participated and no one was fired.
Fredy Huinil works in the grocery department at H Mart in Duluth.

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