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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Thu Oct 25 06:05:25 2001
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 22:57:28 -0500 (CDT)
From: Weekly News Update <wnu@igc.org>
Subject: Picket line for Haitian workers, NYC, 10/25/01
Article: 129042
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Labor Solidarity Groups Protest Cointreau's Refusal to Aid Plantation Workers in Haiti

Global Sweatshop Coalition, 23 October 2001

Date: Thursday, October 25
Time: 4-6 pm
Place: Outside the Remy Amerique offices at 1350 Avenue of the Americas, at 55th Street

Two New York labor solidarity groups are sponsoring a picket line on Thursday, October 25, in front of the Remy Amerique offices at 1350 Avenue of the Americas, at 55th Street, to protest the company's refusal to aid the plantation workers in Haiti who pick and pack oranges used in the company's luxury Cointreau liqueur.

The workers suffer health problems related to subhuman working conditions, are forced to work for starvation wages, and have been the constant targets of beatings, arrests and dismissals as a result of their struggles to organize and fight for decent working conditions.

Remy Cointreau, a multinational company headquartered in Paris, France, has a partnership agreement with Guacimal, S.A., in Haiti, which owns the plantations and processing plant that produce the orange extract used as the key ingredient in Cointreau.

The two New York groups, the Global Sweatshop Coalition and the Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network, have been holding informational picket lines to pressure Remy Amerique and Haitian labor authorities to come to the aid of the Guacimal workers. An international letter-writing campaign directed to Ms. Heriard Dubreuil, the CEO of Remy Amerique, is currently underway calling upon the company to intervene with Guacimal on behalf of the workers.

The workers' union, the Syndicat des Ouvriers de Guacimal St. Raphael, an affiliate of the Batay Ouvriye (Workers' Struggle) labor center, asked for a wage increase a year ago that would let the workers earn $0.80 (US) for a box of picked oranges. Workers can fill seven to eight boxes per day if there are sufficient oranges on the trees. The union also asked for a guaranteed eight-hour work day with a one-hour rest period, and overtime and sick pay. They asked to be provided with boots, gloves, and hats to prevent wasp stings, and for a first-aid center.

Guacimal has used threats, intimidation and replacement workers to deny the union workers' their rights. Remy Cointreau has steadfastly ignored workers' requests to join in the negotiations.