CHICAGO -- Thousands of visitors to Navy Pier, Chicago's newest tourist attraction on the shores of Lake Michigan, were recently made aware that Pepsico is a major customer of the notorious union buster A.E. Staley Co. Staley -- which locked out 760 workers in Decatur, Ill., more than two years ago when they rejected a union-busting contract -- is a major producer of corn sweeteners, an ingredient of soft drinks.
Visitors entering the pier Aug. 28 were greeted by dozens of Staley supporters who handed out fliers describing the anti-union record of Staley and urging people to write and call the executives of Pepsico to stop buying sweetener from Staley.
The protesters, most of whom are members of Chicago's Staley Workers Solidarity Committee, dramatized their protest by unrolling a huge banner from the roof of the entrance to the building reading, "Pepsi destroys Decatur families -- Pepsi, dump Staley." It included Pepsi's phone number: 1-800-433-2652.
More than 70 demonstrators from the Staley Solidarity Committee joined in chanting the slogans which were on the banners, and which matched slogans painted on the T-shirts of each of the demonstrators.
After more than an hour, Chicago police rushed the tower and arrested nine protesters. All were released when Pepsi and Navy Pier administrators decided not to give further publicity to the protest and refused to file charges.
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