On Friday March 18th, a group of Olympia YAYAs went to two Chase Bank branches in Lacey and Hawks Prairie to leaflet in support of Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s (FLOC) campaign which seeks for Chase declare a moratorium on foreclosures and persuade one of their largest clients, R.J. Reynolds to sit down with FLOC and tobacco pickers to address the human rights abuses that are happening in the fields of North Carolina.
Last month, supporters of the campaign protested almost 200 locations. This month, we changed locations at the last minute when we were notified that a local labor union was covering the branch in downtown Oly. Although our banners did not arrive on time (see pic below), we went to the bank with our leaflets and resolved to overcome our personal shynesses and approach people as they left the bank.
While we were only able to hand out flyers to 15 people (2 refused), our presence was definitely noticed. After we had leafleted for an hour, I went into the bank to ask to speak with a manager and deliver the message:
1. Chase must be held accountable for its commitment to human rights and that Chase is morally bankrupt until it does.
2. Chase has refused to help the Farm Labor Organzing Committee arrange a meeting with Chase’s client, Reynolds American, to discuss the conditions of tobacco farmworkers who work for contract growers.
3. Chase should declare a national moratorium on foreclosures.
4. We plan to continue protests until the issues are resolved.
The manager was not receptive and refused to allow me to make my statement, fax the flyer, or notify national headquarters of our visit. However, the frustration and offense in his voice when he told me “not gonna happen” made me suspect he would indeed report our visit. We left politely and were happy to have spent our afternoon standing up for justice and corporate accountability.
-Drew Beres and Jenny Lee