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Upcoming tobacco farmworker solidarity actions

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Keeping up the pressure for Reynolds to do right

Today, tobacco farmworker supporters rallied outside the corporate headquarters of The Pantry, Inc. in Cary, NC. Representatives of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO) delivered a letter urging CEO, Dennis G. Hatchell, to weigh in more forcefully with Reynolds American and pressure the tobacco giant to do more to end widespread abuses in Reynolds' tobacco fields.

Click here to see pictures from the March 1 letter delivery.

The Pantry operates the popular Kangaroo Express chain of convenience stores, where tobacco products account for 39% of sales and makes its stores the end of a supply chain that begins with the well-documented exploitation and abuse of tobacco field workers.

Next solidarity steps

On March 14, FLOC will try to keep the conversation going with The Pantry when the company holds its annual shareholder meeting. FLOC needs volunteers to attend the shareholders meeting to ask executives directly to deal with these issues.  FLOC owns 12 shares of The Pantry, and the union plans to have 4-5 speakers give polite, short statements in a meeting that, last year, was only 30 minutes long.

What: The Pantry shareholder meeting
When: Thursday, March 14 at 10:00 AM
Where: 305 Gregson Dr, Cary, NC 27511

Do you shop at The Pantry or Kangaroo Express? Are you a student, a person of faith or faith leader, or union member? Contact Justin Flores ([email protected]) if you're willing to help FLOC with its March 14 action.

March 24-31 is National Farmworker Awareness Week, and FLOC will participate by holding rallies outside Kangaroo convenience stores in the Triangle area and beyond. THESE ARE NOT PROTESTS of Kangaroo. Rather, they are an opportunity to raise awareness for customers and store owners, using only a banner and signs, about the stories of abuse that go into making the products Reynolds American sells in Kangaroo stores.

For more details about FLOC actions during National Farmworker Awareness Week, email FLOC’s Triangle area volunteer, Dave Austin ([email protected]).

On April 12, students of the University of North Carolina will travel to UNC Pembroke to request the resignation of Reynolds board member David Powers.

What: UNC Board of Governors meeting
When: Friday, April 12, 2013
Where: 1 University Dr  Pembroke, NC 28372

For more info about the UNC BOG action, ask Justin ([email protected]).

In May (Date TBD), Reynolds American will hold its annual shareholder meeting in Winston-Salem. This will be the sixth year that FLOC and its supporters have rallied and marched outside Reynolds corporate headquarters. Huge turnout in previous years both in the shareholder meeting and outside on the streets have lead to big breakthroughs for the campaign. Let's keep that going in 2013!

Reynolds has not yet set the date for its shareholder meeting. Check back here for more information.

In all of these actions, our goal is the same - getting Reynolds to acknowledge its responsibility to do something to protect the workers who harvest its golden leaf. Thanks for your support for this worthy cause.