The International Solidarity Commission of the Industrial Workers of the World extends its solidarity to the 691 workers fired from their factory in Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires.
Arguing that operations and logistics costs were obstacles to the plant’s financial viability, PepsiCo shuttered the doors of the Vicente Lopez factory on 20 June, locking out the facility’s workers, offering them little notice of the plant’s imminent relocation, and extending job offers at the new plant—in Mar del Plata—to only 155 of the now laid off workers. The move to Mar del Plata is strategic, as it allows PepsiCo to employ a new non-unionized workforce, cheaper and less militant than the workers in Vicente Lopez. While PepsiCo has complained of financial hardship in Argentina’s labor courts, the food and beverage company is one of the world’s largest, reporting record profits in the first trimester of 2017.
In response to their surprise layoffs, 88 of the workers at Vicente Lopez have rejected the meager compensation packages offered by PepsiCo, and since occupied their factory. This move on the part of the workers, and against the behest of the pro-corporate representatives in their business union Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Alimentación, has fostered an outpouring of support from sympathetic voices inside and outside Argentina.
On Thursday 13 July, Argentinian police raided and destroyed the workers’ occupation camp. Using tear gas, police violently evicted the occupiers and detained several workers. While labor rights courts have subsequently ruled in favor of the workers, ordering PepsiCo to reinstate them to their jobs, President Mauricio Macri’s neoliberal administration is now pressing charges against the judges of the labor court.
Workers are asking that supporters both boycott PepsiCo products (e.g. Pepsi, Lay’s, Quaker, Dorito, Starbuck’s Ready-to-Drink, 7UP, Cheetos, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Tropicana, etc.) and sign their petition to express solidarity: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/solidarity-with-pepsico-workers-in-argentina
More information on the occupation in English can be found here: http://www.leftvoice.org/ARGENTINA-Action-in-Solidarity-with-PepsiCo-Workers
FWs sparrow, F H., J R V.
International Solidarity Commission of the IWW