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PCUN Int'l Day of Action Speaking Tour

The International Day of Action continues to grow!
PCUN President returns from successful speaking tour of mid-west and East Coast. Article for the University of Missouri-Columbia newspaper about the boycott.
There are now over twenty delegations planned to meet with NORPAC Foods' international network of brokers throughout the United States and Canada. Hundreds of other farmworker supporters have committed to calling and or faxing NORPAC brokers on the 9th.

We've received word from several campuses that students have secured cell phones they plan to make available to call NORPAC's network of brokers. Activists in other communities have added storefront leafletting to the International Day of Action to get the word our in their community.

We very much appreciate the support of organizations such as the United Farm Workers of America, the Campaign for Labor Rights, the Canadian Labour Congress, Global Exchange, Student Action with Farmworkers, the National Farmworker Ministry, the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and numerous other organizations who've mobilized their network of activists to participate in our action on the 9th.

If you haven't yet committed to participating, drop us an email soon at mailto: pcun_dia@hotmail.com with your name and mailing address and we'll get you our phone/fax action packet with the names, phone numbers and faxes of brokers in your area. If you want to see the complete list of NORPAC's brokers, go to their website at  http://www.norpac.com/pages/brokers-list.htm

Please make sure to send us an email to mailto: pcun_dia@hotmail.com once you've taken action on the 9th. We'll post updates as soon as we have them on our website, located at  http://www.pcun.org.

Mid-west and East Coast tour PCUN President Ramon Ramirez just returned from a week long, six state speaking tour. Students at Cornell University have found NORPAC products in their dining hall and are now working to get them out! At Clark College, the Food Manager attended Ramon's presentation. Clark uses Bon Appetite, and apparently the Food Service Manager was asked to find out what Ramon had to say. At Clark and other Bon Appetite serviced campuses, Ramon praised the Bon Appetite for taking such a couregeous step as no longer using any NORPAC products, but asked students to remain vigilent.

In Worcester, MA, two television stations covered Ramon's presentation and in St. Louis, Ramon was interviewed on a local radio program.

Students at all the campuses Ramon visited agreed to mobilize support for the International Day of Action, as well as consider joining the Walk for Justice this June (see our website more more information about this historic march).

Below, you'll find an article that appeared in the University of Missouri-Columbia newspaper on March 1, 2001.

The University of Missouri-Columbia student group that has opposed using products from foreign sweatshops is turning its attention to what a guest speaker last night called "sweatshops in our country."

Students for Progressive Action last night hosted a talk by farm worker organizer Ramon Ramirez, who in 15 years has gone from picking berries for a few dollars an hour to lecturing at college campuses across the country for human rights.

Ramirez said many farm workers in the Pacific Coast states are Hispanic immigrants - up to 95 percent in some areas - who work long hours in poor conditions for minimum wage or less. He said many children must work to help their family make ends meet, resulting in a high dropout rate and self-perpetuating poverty.

A migrant farm worker like his father before him, Ramirez said he was inspired by hearing Hispanic labor activist Cesar Chavez speak when he was 15. In 1985, Ramirez and his co-workers formed Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, or PCUN, to push for better working conditions, shorter hours and better pay. Ramirez said PCUN, which translates as "Northwest Tree-planters and Farm Workers United," tried to replicate in the Northwest states the success of Chavez's campaigns in California.

But Ramirez, one of four PCUN organizers currently touring the country speaking for workers' rights, said getting there was an uphill battle. First, Chavez's organizing efforts in California caused other states to forbid migrant workers from striking, Ramirez said. He said the union had to first contest the law and bring it to the Oregon

Supreme Court, where it was declared unconstitutional. The union won a collective bargaining agreement in 1998 after 13 years of effort and now represents more than 4,500 farm workers, he said.

Students for Progressive Action, formerly known as Campus Peaceworks, won a victory last June when a national coalition of clothing manufacturers, human-rights groups, colleges and universities, including MU, approved an anti-sweatshop agreement.

The students hope to persuade others to join a boycott of NORPAC, the food distribution company that has been the union's main opponent, said Megan Kean, the group's president. Companies that have dropped NORPAC foods include Bon Appetit Management Co., the supplier for Stephens College's cafeteria."