UPDATE: Ruby Ridge Workers turn in petition w/20,000+ signatures to Darigold
Thank you for signing the Ruby Ridge workers petition. Your support means so much to the workers.
February 8, 2012--A week ago Friday, dairy workers and Occupiers from the Seattle area joined together in solidarity to tell Darigold to protect workers at the Ruby Ridge dairy. Occupiers started off the day by welcoming the workers with a breakfast at a local church. At 2pm, there was a rally and then the crowd of nearly 1,000 occupiers, workers, and supporters marched the streets of Seattle to Darigold’s headquarters. Darigold allowed representatives inside to deliver the 20,000 signatures on the petition. However they did not send out a representative to talk with the workers. The crowd responded by holding a press conference outside with a megaphone to be sure Darigold heard the workers message. As the workers spoke about the conditions at Ruby Ridge, a brigade of BMWs and Mercedes receiving a police escort left the Darigold parking garage. But it was obvious Darigold executives heard the message and saw the support the workers have.
Lynne Dobson , the Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council said, When we drink our milk, we like to think that happy cows are on farms where the sun is shining, and people are working for some hours a day, working hard, but then treated right. That’s not what’s happening at Ruby Ridge. The workers didn't have breaks. They’re not given their right to organize, which is a fundamental human right. This is wrong. The Washington State Labor Council and our 460,000 members urge Darigold to do the right thing. Be good corporate citizens. Call on Ruby Ridge to stop these practices, to treat their workers well, and to move forward. Let’s not have this milk go sour.
Former Ruby Ridge worker, Jose Juan Zamora told the crowd, at this company, the work is very hard. They want us to do work in eight hours, but it’s impossible. It’s very hard work, and they didn't give us breaks or decent water. The water they gave us was the dirty water from where the cows drink.
Another former worker Margarito Martinez added, I have worked in a lot, a lot of different places. And nowhere have I been mistreated worse than in this company at Ruby Ridge. We want the rights of the workers respected.
Fired worker Rafael Muniz Sr. said, If they don't want to listen to the workers they shouldn't sell the product that the workers produce. I'm sad that they don't care about the workers’ issues or conditions. They only care about the money. What makes them think that corporations have the right to organize amongst each other like people but the workers do not?
Muniz' son, 11 -yr old "Rafita" Muniz Jr., was the one to walk in Darigold's lobby to deliver the petition with more than 20,000 signatures. He told us, It felt good to take all those signatures to show them all the support my dad has and to see all those people fighting for what the company [Ruby Ridge] did to my dad. Nobody came out to listen but we told them we would be back. I hope I can go next time and that all the people keep fighting for my dad and the workers.
Occupier and University of Washington student Cody Lestelle said, The event was proof that when you raise awareness amongst consumers about the labor conditions involved, that people are willing to recognize it as part of their own struggle, and stand up for dairy workers against corporate greed, as if they were standing up for themselves, because in the end, they are. Even though folks working at the corporate headquarters drove away in their BMWs and Audis, and didn't stay to listen to the workers that work for the milk that pays for the fancy cars, this action has proven that consumers and workers can organize themselves toward a common good without corporate rule.
Help us continue to make this happen. In the next week or so, we will be escalating this campaign to involve Darigold markets and supermarkets throughout the country. We'll be in touch you shortly.