FURTHER SOLIDARITY WITH THE WORKERS OF THE COLIBRI GROUP:
The situation of the laid off workers of the Rhode Island jewelry manufacturer Colibri Group has been mentioned before here at Molly's Blog. Yesterday the receivers for the now bankrupt company attempted to auction off the assets, and workers and their supporters tried to block the sale by civil disobedience. 13 workers and supporters were arrested. The workers, supported by Fuerza Laboral and the Jobs With Justice group are still calling for the workers to be paid their due compensation before other creditors. The following is an appeal from the JwJ for you to stand in solidarity with this demand.
ACT NOW! Laid of Workers Arrested as Factory Assets Auctioned Off:
Tell Founders Equity to Give Workers their Due
Shirley Samayoa worked at the Colibri Group for 27 years, making jewelry and cigarette lighters. Yesterday, as her former employer auctioned off the company's assets, she and twelve other coworkers and allies sat down to say "enough is enough."
"I was one of the many Colibri workers protesting at the Colibri factory on the 19th. Workers have rights and sometimes they have to say enough is enough! We are THE COLIBRI WORKERS FOR RIGHTS AND JUSTICE and we will continue to fight for our rights and the rights of other workers in the same situation."
As bidders drove into the company parking lot, about 200 pickets greeted them with chants of "We'll go away when we get our pay," and "Rise Together! Stay Together!" In four separate waves workers sat down in the road blocking access to the cars before they were handcuffed and taken away in police vans.
In mid-January, Colibri's primary investor, NY-based Founders Equity assigned Colibri into State Receivership, leaving 280 Rhode Island workers unemployed without notice. Since then, Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice has been demanding 60 days pay and 60 days benefits, what would have been due them had Colibri Group followed the federal WARN Act. They are also asking for severance based on years worked.
"I have a value. I was their worker. Fouders Equity has to do the right thing!" said Samayoa.
Please support Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice by taking a few seconds to send a free fax to Founders Equity partners right now demanding that Founders Equity give every Colibri Worker 60 days pay, 60 days benefits and severance based on years worked.
With so many families struggling with unemployment and pending eviction or foreclosure, Colibri Workers are organizing to ensure that no other workers go through what they've gone through.
"They didn't warn us. It's not right what they did. There's a whole group of us were left with nothing, and we have families,"said Anabell Santiago, who began working at Colibri in 1994.
"I want people to know that if this happens to them, there's something they can do," said Valeria de Leon, a veteran at Colibri for 19 years.
After the closing, the workers, who did not have union, organized with the help of local workers rights center Fuerza Laboral and also with the help of Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, the community labor coalition.
Earlier this month, the Providence City Council and the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed resolutions supporting the efforts of the workers to get the pay and benefits they are entitled to.
The Fight Continues:
Colibri Workers will continue to demand justice from Founders Equity and they will fight the fight beyond their own campaign.
Shirley Samayoa says, "We represent the average worker that has made this country strong. We have met and talked to many people across the state that are supporting us with our fight. Many workers have come forward and say that they have recently been laid off by their companies. The companies have told them that they will get their compensation and medical continued---they will not be treated like the Colibri workers. If this is the only result of our fight--our sit down--I will feel that I have won.
People are watching us and listening to us. We have a name. We are THE COLIBRI WORKERS FOR RIGHTS AND JUSTICE and we will continue to fight for our rights and the rights of other workers in the same situation."
Kelley Fusaro, a Colibri worker, told a local TV reporter that this isn't the end of the protest, "Colibri doesn't treat us right. It's going to teach companies going forward they can't pull this on their workers"
You can take action on this alert either via email (please see directions below) or via the web at:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this
We encourage you to take action by March 21, 2010
Tell Founders Equity to Give Workers their Due
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB:
If you have access to a web browser, you can take action on this alert by going to the following URL:
http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/foundersequity_mar/wukd7sdrl7wnxd7d? INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA EMAIL:
Just choose the "reply to sender" option on your email program. Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
Mr. Warren H. Haber
----THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT IN YOUR NAME----
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I am writing to support the efforts of Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice.
I understand that Founders Equity, a majority investor in the Colibri Group asked the Rhode Island Superior court to place the Colibri Group into receivership. The former Colibri workers are now facing this recession head-on and they deserve some relief. Many of these workers had given the company 10, 20, 30, even 37years of service. Founders Equity has an obligation to respond to Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice.
I am asking you to respond to Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice by agreeing to negotiate with their elected leadership for 60 days pay, 60 days benefits and severance based on years worked.
I stand with the Colibri Workers because I believe that it's time that employers, investors and lenders alike take the responsibility for their actions. During this economic crisis, laid off workers can't wait for a lengthy court process.
In the words of one leader of Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice, "Our families won't wait to eat.Our landlords won't wait for rent. Our children won't wait for medical care."
Please contact Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice immediately. You can reach Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice with your response at (401)725-2700.
Thank you for your prompt attention to the rights of Colibri Groups former employees.
----END OF LETTER TO BE SENT----