Monday, April 2, 2007

"Monster, We Won't Be Fooled!" April Fool's Day Protest

On Sunday, April 1, 2007, over 50 laid-off workers and community supporters marched in downtown Burlingame and declared, “Monster Cable, We Won’t be Fooled!”. Laid-off workers were joined by a number of community allies including 16 youth from AIWA (Asian Immigrant Womens Advocates). For nearly two hours, they marched and leafleted hundreds of curious shoppers and restaurant-goers on Burlingame Avenue, an upscale shopping area near the CEO’s home. The protest culminated in a boycott picket in front of the Apple Store, at 1301 Burlingame Ave.

“In response to overwhelming community support for the workers and pressure on Monster Cable, Monster Cable has tried to cover up by claiming to be a responsible employer and saying that they have done enough for workers,“ says Feiyi Chen, community organizer with the campaign. ”On April Fool’s Day, we’re reminding the company that the workers and community won’t be fooled. We know that the company can pay a fair severance and we hope they do the right thing before workers are forced to escalate this campaign further.”

For the first time, workers were forbidden from entering the store. Two worker leaders and a translator were turned away repeatedly at the door by store security and finally the store manager, who told them, "I am not at liberty to speak with you" and referred the workers to Apple's media line. This new tough attitude signals that Apple is getting tired of these protests and has stepped up their response in hopes of deterring future pickets. However, workers have no intention of letting up the pressure, and in fact plan to escalate their actions if their demands are not met. As a reminder, protesters chanted "We'll be back!" as they left the storefront.

With the continued public pressure and involvement of numerous elected officials, including US Congressman Tom Lantos and State Assemblymember Gene Mullin, workers believe that Monster Cable CEO Noel Lee would indeed look like a fool if he continued to reject their demands for a fair severance.

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