Rally for Fired Latino Workers/ “I Want Justice, I Want My Job”

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Jim Smith/El Hispano N. Wales, Pa. – Chanting labor leader Cesar Chavez’s phrase “Si, Se Puede’ and “TEVA, TEVA, You’re No Good, Treat These Workers As You Should,” some two hundred union workers, largely members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ, marched up Horsham road to the North Wales based headquarters of pharmaceutical giant TEVA, Thursday, demanding the restoration of jobs to 10 maintenance workers. The ten janitors were dismissed in March following TEVA’s acquisition of the drug company Allergan. The maintenance workers who cleaned lobbies, offices and bathrooms, included 6 Latina-women, three Latino men and one Chinese man, all of whom worked for Eastern facilities management earning wages of $12 to $14-an-hour with benefits. El Hispano attempted to contact TEVA to obtain an explanation for the company ending their contract with Eastern, but received no response. “I want justice and I want my job back,” Estella Rios told an SEIU translator. With a family to support, Mrs. Rios conceded that she was, “stressed now trying to make it. Some days I just cry.” “Since I lost my job I can’t find anything stable,” added Rios. “TEVA didn’t have to take my job away.” Founded in 1901, TEVA produces medicines for pain, asthma, multiple sclerosis and is among the largest generic drug makers in the world, earning more than $21 million in revenue and a 59 percent jump in U.S. profits in 2014. According to an SEIU spokesperson, the dismissal of the ten janitors would be decried by TEVA’s pro-union European affiliates: “It would create intense governmental and union opposition.” Noting that one of the fired janitors recently gave birth to a “bouncing baby boy,” Daisy Cruz, Mid-Atlantic District Leader of SEIU 32BJ said the firing had left the woman deprived of valuable benefits. “Poverty in the suburbs is increasing. The janitors in the suburbs are working to lift themselves out of poverty and strengthen their communities,” said Cruz. “They can’t do that when companies try these tactics.” Ms. Cruz and the SEIU – which represents some 22,000 workers in Pennsylvania – were rebuffed at the entrance of the North Wales TEVA headquarters, Thursday, as they sought to meet with company leaders over the plight of the dismissed workers. “We just wanted to see if we could have the opportunity sit down with somebody today, and just give the workers an opportunity to find out what’s going on and what happened,” explained Daisy Cruz. The rally occurred on the 27th anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s last hunger strike on behalf of California farm workers. MAS NOTICIAS EN EDICION DIGITAL E IMPRESA.


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