Mt. Olive Pickle steals workers’ lives

The disingenuous response from the Mt. Olive Pickle Company answering the March 26 rally by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee is a good example of how they maintain a cheap, exploitable work force.

Mt. Olive claims innocence because Raymundo Hernandez (whose widow led the demonstration on March 26) died in a tobacco field, not a cucumber field. End of story – if you were born yesterday.

The recruiter and employer of Raymundo was the North Carolina Grower’s Association. In 1995, when Raymundo died, the Mt. Olive Pickle Company was a prominent corporate dues-paying member of this association. Many of Mt. Olive’s growers are also members. The growers that don’t use association workers readily use undocumented workers brought in similar fashion as those who recently perished in Victoria, Texas.

Okay, so Raymundo died in a tobacco field, and his remains lay forgotten for four years. What about Urbano Ramirez, who died of heat stroke two summers ago harvesting pickles for a Mt. Olive supplier? Or Mamerto Chai, who would have died of appendicitis had not his co-workers paid a cab driver $70 to get him to the nearest hospital?

Mt. Olive begs to tell their side of the story. Sure, why not? This is why we boycott Mt. Olive, to get them to listen to Raymundo’s and Urbano’s side of the story.

Enron and WorldCom had their thieves who stole people’s life savings; Mt. Olive’s moral dilemma may be worse as its procurement system steals people’s lives.

Baldemar VelasquezPresident, FLOC

U.S. money grab in Iraq

The current U.S. proposal to the UN Security Council is a blatant money grab by Bush & his Crony Capitalist buddies. The Bush administration is trying to setup a puppet board of directors as the “Provisional Authority” to control the Iraq’s treasury and income from oil sales. It is a truly pathetic exhibition of greed.

Ray LauzzanaSan Francisco CA

Privatization vs. public ownership

Recently I was privileged to read a book titled “The Working Class Majority – America’s Best Kept Secret” by Michael Zweig Economics Professor at State University of New York. In his research he dispels the myth that the private sector can replace duties and services now done by public sector. Prison systems that have been privatized have all failed, cost over runs were much higher than state controlled prisons. Whole public school districts made private by Edison Schools, Inc., were a total flop.

Capitalist medicine HMOs, big insurance, AMA control of U.S. Congress – well, we all know that too well.

Outside the U.S., Chile’s experiment with a private social security system is failing. One can only imagine Enron-types dictating our retirement funds. In Columbia private enterprise armies from U.S. are helping fascist goons squads murder workers and farmers. The right has a low opinion of humankind if they think only profits motivate people.

Arthur E. GlazierVero Beach FL

More on health care

As a new subscriber – first year – I would like to see in a future article, the single payer, universal health care system from cradle to grave explained. Many people receive compromised health care information in other media. I’d like the PWW to present the plan in an uncompromised fashion.

Chris O’Bannonvia e-mail

Congrats to Texas fighters

A reader wrote the following letter to some of the Texas legislators who holed up in Arkansas to frustrate a Republican Party power grab in the closing days of the legislative session.

I wish to thank you and your colleagues for the courage shown while fighting the anti-democracy forces of the Bush’s right-wing cabal. Not since the early 1930s in Germany have there been so many “fascist-minded” people, as Paul Robeson once called them, involved in the government of a large powerful nation like the U.S. Your creative and courageous action could well become this country’s second “shot heard ’round the world” in the struggle for democracy.

While there are moments when I am dismayed at what seems to be almost unlimited support for Bush and his agenda, there are more times when I get the sense that there is a growing desire by the population for someone, anyone, to cry out, “The Emperor has no clothes!” I believe the good people of Texas, you legislators and your supporters, finally said those words loud enough for all to hear.

Yours for Peace, Jobs, and Justice,

William AppelhansChicago IL