UPDATE: Workers Arrested while Demanding Justice

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.

One response to “UPDATE: Workers Arrested while Demanding Justice

  1. The Colibri workers are a dedicated group of workers that feel that their rights were violated on 1/14 when Founders Equity unlawfully locked the doors at the factory putting 280 workers out of work without any notice. They no have no medical insurance and received no severance pay. Many ,2 months later, still have not received any money from unemployment. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you be able to manage your household and family under these conditions?
    Several are now facing potential eviction from their apartments or are close to foreclosure on their homes. Many have had to receive medical attention and paid full, very expensive, costs for that care. The bills keep piling up!
    Founders Equity will not talk with our representatives or lawyer. We have now filed a federal law suit against the “Crooks”. Like many financial institutions now there are not adequate oversite and/or regulations to govern them. The federal WARN ACT does not have the enforcement capability to proceed against companies who break the law. This is the way with Founders Equity. They have been able to destroy a very profitable and well respected company, take their profit and leave the workers and the banks holding the empty bag!
    The workers are treated like uninsured workers and, because of this, they are at the bottom of the list for any compensation in a receivership. The banks have gotten their bailouts but the workers have gotten $0. Something is very wrong here. We did the work! We deserve to treated fairly.
    At least, our plight has brought to light the underhanded methods that companies are using to get their hands on the $$$$. Many companies around RI, that unfortunately are facing layoff situations , are now telling their workers that they will get their insurance for the mandatory 60 days and that they will get their severance pay. They will not treat their workers like the Colibri workers.
    At least something good has happened.
    We will continue our fight with Founders Equity, HSBC, Sovereign Bank and through our lawsuit because we believe in our rights. We sat down together in the street of East Providence, RI and we will stand together to win our due compensation.
    FOUNDERS EQUITY has an over due bill to the Colibri Group and it needs to be paid NOW!

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