Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Levi Garment Workers Wage Regional Protests

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Levi Garment Workers Wage Regional Protests

Article excerpt

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, and WASHINGTON -- The slogan was humorous. "Levi, Button Your Fly: Your Greed is Showing." It was printed on fliers distributed by pickets outside the front gates of a still-operating Levi Strauss & Co. plant in San Antonio.

The cause was very serious, though. Members of Fuerza Unida, an organization of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, former workers from a closed Levi Strauss & Co. plant, endured torrential rains and cold nights during a 21-day fast at the Levi manufacturing plant to protest injustices allegedly committed by the multinational corporation.

The fast was the latest in ongoing demonstrations and protests staged by the former Levi workers as efforts to educate other workers and keep the pressure on the clothing giant.

From Oct. 11 until Nov. 1, the women, representing the majority of 1,150 garment workers fired by Levi Strauss in January 1990, remained around the clock outside the operating factory, taking refuge in a makeshift shack. The "Fast for Justice" simultaneously occurred in 15 U.S. cities and in Mexico. They originally planned to end the fast in time for Nov. 2, celebrated as the Day of the Dead in the Hispanic community.

In San Antonio, the strikers ended their fast with a march to the cathedral. The sang "Vamos Todos al Banquete" ("Let's All Go to the Banquet"), a Mass song from the Christian base communities of El Salvador. …

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