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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Food justice starts at home: the Domino's boycott




4/13

Domino's boycott rally


Arrive at the church late afternoon. The day started well with the Domino's rally, but downhill from there. Missed one letter on my Hop Stop search for an address in Brooklyn looking for a Spanish church in Brooklyn. I knew the address was wrong when the address number was  in the middle of the Gowanus Canal. Needed to be on the other side of Brooklyn. Only way to get there by going back to Union Square in Manhattan. Or a $25 cab ride. Which I did to save time. And wound up at my meeting 2 hours late and just about over. Nothing to do but to head back to Manhattan.

Jerry’s on the steps. I’m worried about him. He’s curled up in  a ball in the corner of the doorway,an empty beer can and a long wet trail down the steps. He hands the cell phone to me. It’s Anthony. Asks abut Jerry. I tell him. Anthony doesn’t sound like he’s dying. Tells me he can’t handle Jerry’s drinking. He can come back when he’s sober.

Jerry’s story is of course different. Anthiny’s diabetes. All the work he does. The ongoing relationship with Blessed Sacrament down the street.  But the point is Jerry, can’t be on  the steps with open containers. 

Then I notice the dozens and dozens of burnt matches. Someone’s been cooking smack. Jerry says it’s not him, and I believe him. He talks about the crowd congregating there at night. I’ll have to talk to Stephen  about this.

Stephen fills me in on what’ been going on while I’ve been gone. The ongoing negotiations between the church and the people from the Red Bull Music Academy bringing a concert with Pantha du Prince to West-Park. Sold out already.  Going to be  a big event. Important to us to bring this off well. I talk to Stephen about the rally. And my fruitless Brooklyn odyssey. And we talk about the steps. Stephen and Martin will handle the concert negotiations. 

Martin and I head to the B. Still trying to find the way to pull this off that is close to the vision. If only the road weren’t so long...

                            * * * * 


What I said at the rally:

A year ago we came together to celebrate, a year of struggle, action and victories. And to push the government to enforce the law against Domino's. My colleague Pastor Heidi were there to celebrate with you. With her classic sense of humor, she suggested that she’d only order Domino's if it came with a topping of justice. 

It wasn’t the first time we spoke about Domino's. Remember when  we stood in the cold freezing rain on 72nd Street? The first time we chanted no justice no pizza?  And how did Domino's respond?
Did they say, OK, we get it, it's time to treat the  workers fairly?
Did they say, we disagree but let's talk?
Did they say, we respect our workers,we want to do this right ? Of course we want to obey the law? 
No...they threatened to sue pastor Heidi  and me. They called out their legal lap dogs. Sent threatening letters....
As if that would work....
Did we back down? Did we keep quiet? Did we say Oh, Domino's is upset,we better be careful?
No ...it only strengthened our resolve to keep fighting side by side with you workers, students, people of faith, politicians and residents, not just for justice for these 74 workers but for ALL workers to live and work with dignity and fairness.

I learned last week in Washington, DC  that the Immokalee tomato growers had won a struggle with Domino's and forced them to honor collective bargaining and sign a fair contract. We can not allow Domino's  to rob one set of workers to reward another group of workers.  Food justice must be carried out at every level: production, distribution, and consumption. If they can do that at the production end, they can do it at the distribution end.....and the way we will do it  is through the consumer end .....we will spread the word, stop buying domino's NOW
Justice for Domino's workers now!

The message is clear: No more profits from exploited workers!
             Our cry is still....no justice, no pizza.

Bob and Hope at Domin's boycott rally 






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