Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice

By Sunshine (Providence NEFAC)

Colibri workers locked out when laid off from there factory here in Rhode Island. They have been organizing with a workers center here in RI called Fuerza Laboral. Fuerza specializes in using direct action mobilizing of workers to get back stolen wages. Colibri workers are demanding 60 days back pay, 60 days vacation time and a week severance for each year worked.

On Tuesday, Februrary 3rd, there was a rally at the operating facility that remains open in East Providence. 250 people were there according to the Providence Journal. I didnt make it as i had to go to upstate NY on wobbly business.

On last Tuesday, the 10th, there was a rally mostly of the workers and some community/labor allies at the legal offices that are representing Colibri manufacturing. Fifty people demanded the immediate pay of 60 days pay , vacation and severance.

Friday, February 20th, the former employees of Colibri manufacturing , organized as Colibri Workers for Rights and Justice, with supporters from Providence went to NYC to confront the new owners of the factories assets, Founders Equity, and demand what is theirs.

About seventy people, the majority of whom were ex-Colibri workers got on the bus and in a van and drove to NYC. We arrived at CUNY labor center and got ready to go and confront the corporate bosses and demand they pay 60 days back pay 60 days vacation time and a week severance for each year worked.

The workers and allies (including members from Jobs with Justice RI, SEIU, Fuerza Laboral, Brown University, and NEFAC) proceded to go over the plan for the day. The steering committee that the workers elected from amoungst their ranks was to go in a few at a time and attempt to get upstairs past security. Then the rest of the group was to enter the office and try as many as possible to get upstairs to the Founder's Equity office.

With the plan set a few chants worked out and a signal (raised fist followed by everyone) to go quiet planned we proceeded down through Manhattan as a bloc. A block away from the Founders Equity office on Fifth Avenue the steering committee went ahead. A few minutes after we all proceeded to go to the building and enter the lobby.

I was filming for the day for Fuerza and the Colibri workers, and the security staff were not very pleased by our presence especially the video camera. I was singled out and the guard attempted to intimdate me to stop filming. He is fond of the nickname 'sunshine' and i think im going to run with it...

The group was unable to make it upstairs and confront the bosses but a rowdy demonstration was held for about twenty minutes in the lobby , much to the guards chagrin.

After the group went to Long Island converging at a Unitarian Universalist church. We then went to the home of one of the senior partners of the Founders
Equity firm. John Teeger unfortunately was not home. The workers did let his neighbors know what he has been up to though, as well as leaving a
letter taped to his door and a sign on his lawn, demanding that he pay the Colibri workers.

Overall a good day , a step in the path towards these workers demanding what is theirs and another step towards victory in the class war.

More photos available here.

For more information see:
Fuerza Laboral News
Video of Providence Journal
JCK Online: Displaced Colibri Workers Demand Pay Mandated by U.S. Law