Thursday, March 20, 2008

MECHA seeks to close Blue Diamond in support of workers

Blue Diamond Almond Factory closes doors
in response to major protest Friday by hundreds
of students supporting ‘free and fair’ worker elections

SACRAMENTO – Blue Diamond Almonds – the world’s largest processor of almonds – reportedly has closed down for the rest of week because of concerns about a major protest here organized by a national Latino student group, which is busing more than 500 demonstrators to the plant Friday afternoon.

The demonstration will begin FRIDAY, at 1:30 p.m. at Blue Diamond Almonds (17th & C Streets), according to of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan).

The students – representing chapters throughout the U.S. at a national conference this week at CSUS – will spearhead Friday what will be the largest rally yet to support under-represented workers at Blue Diamond Almonds plant. Hundreds of workers’ rights and community activists are expected to join the rally.

The protest is expected to be intense – legal aid, including that provided by members of the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU, will be available the rally.

After Blue Diamond workers began organizing in 2004, the company mounted an aggressive anti-union campaign that resulted in being found guilty by the National Labor Relations Board of 20 labor law violations. Workers have been building support in Sacramento, and around the country and world in their fight for “free and fair” elections, despite firings, threats and harassment.

MEChA is the nation’s largest Chicano student group and is taking this strong action to support Blue Diamond workers’ long fight to join the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). MEChA has 10 U.S. regions, with 23 chapters in Northern California alone. MEChA has supported workers’ organizing since its founding in 1969.

MEChA students will board a caravan of buses at CSUS at 1 p.m. to trek to the 17th & C Blue Diamond plant.

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