SINTRAINTABACO, Colombia’s tobacco workers union, is demonstrating TODAY, Friday, October 8th, at noon, at the Philip Morris (Atria Corporation) International headquarters in New York (120 Park Avenue). Join a virtual picket line and flood CEO William “Billy” Giffords and Chief Human Resources Officer Charlie Whitaker with emails telling them to meet the workers’ demands that they:
- Respect already existing agreements with SINTRAINTABACO;
- End the layoffs;
- Start new, good-faith negotiations with SINTRAINTABACO according to the terms of the law.
Philip Morris announced in June 2019, that it would close its operations in Colombia despite bringing in a net income of almost $80 billion the previous year. They claim financial hardship due to decreased tobacco consumption and the market for illegal cigarettes. The reality is that the corporate bosses and shareholders want all the profits for themselves without concern for the workers who make those profits possible.
The closings would put 900 factory workers out of jobs, and as many as 12,000 farming families would lose their livelihoods cultivating tobacco. Philip Morris is responsible for more than half of tobacco production and sales in Colombia. Its decision to leave the country violates agreements with the SINTRAINTABACO union that represents 80% of tobacco industry employees. The decision was made without securing approval from the Ministry of Labor and without preparations for retraining or adequate compensation for workers.
Philip Morris has a history of plant closures and worker abuses. In 2010, Human Rights Watch reported that the company had profited off of slave and child labor in Kazakhstan. In 2014, Philip Morris shut down one of its most profitable factories in Holland and sought a cheaper workforce elsewhere.
Philip Morris brings in tens of billions of dollars in net income every year, but they are willing to abandon communities according to the whims of corporate greed. This is a situation we must not tolerate.
While you’re at it….
Take a stand for US workers. The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union (BCTGM) announced a strike at midnight October 5, 2021 against the Kellogg company.