Sunday, March 10, 2013

In Oakland, Mercado Chain Workers Protest Alleged Sexual Harassment, Firings

By David Bacon, Truthout
February 25, 2013

Valentine's Day sometimes brings chocolates and flowers, but in Oakland, California, it brought angry women out to the Mi Pueblo supermarket in the heart of the barrio. There they tried to speak to the chain's owner, Juvenal Chavez, not about love, but about the sexual harassment of women and the firing of whistleblowers who work at the chain.

As they gathered next to the parking lot holding pink placards, Latino families in pickup trucks and beat-up cars honked and waved. Laura Robledo then stepped up to an impromptu podium and told her story. As she spoke, her teenage daughter held her protectively around the waist and stared angrily at the doorway, where managers stood waiting for trouble.

Robledo used to work at the Mi Pueblo market in San Jose. She lost her job when she complained to the company that she'd been sexually harassed by a coworker. [...]

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