In the past few months I have been following the story of the abrupt closing of the Colibri Company in East Providence, Rhode Island. The company shut their doors without warning, laying off 280 employees and violating the Federal WARN act. The workers, in coordination with our partners at Fuerza Laboral, have filed a lawsuit against the company and turned out to protest soon after the closing.
In the most recent news from the ongoing battle, last Thursday, 200 workers and allies protested the auction of Colibri’s assets, saying that no one should be paid until the workers are paid. 13 workers and allies committed civil disobedience sitting and lying down in the road with their arms linked to prevent entry to the auction. All 13 were arrested and released yesterday afternoon after several hours in cells at the East Providence Police station.
Workers committing civil disobedience had worked at Colibri between 3 and 27 years, and took this brave step to call attention to the unjust way they were shut out with no notice, in violation of the Federal WARN Act, and to call on Founders Equity, the owner of Colibri, to pay for this violation. In doing so, they have become part of a long and beautiful history of folks willing to take personal risks for the cause of justice.