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Fuerza Unida

Levi's Boycott

On October 8, 2013 the following letter was sent to the three Haas Family Foundations. They include the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and the Columbia Foundation.

In 1990 the Levis Strauss company began the closures of three factories in San Antonio's Southside. The first factory, where we worked, was closed with no prior notice to the 1,150 workers. We are attaching the cover of a large archive of newspaper articles detailing what took place in San Antonio, Texas. Copies of these archives are housed and referenced by several community organizations and institutions in our city and throughout the U.S. We are writing to remind you and the artist community that we are still here 23 and half years later, having formed the successful non-profit organization, Fuerza Unida that works with ex-Levi's workers and their families. Our community has not forgotten what happened here in 1990 and in the years of our struggle that followed the Levi's plant closures.

Today, our long-time friends and activists in the Bay area continue to support our ongoing boycott of Levi's products. Recently, one of those friends, Miriam Louie, requested that her image be removed from a video that was submitted for a Creative Works Fund grant. She made this request because she supports the work of Fuerza Unida and knows that the CWF is a program of the Haas family.

When we began our efforts to organize for just severance and pension pay, we met with Robert Haas and came to no agreement. We visited Levis Strauss plants in Costa Rica, and saw, first-hand, the injustice in your plants abroad as well. Fuerza Unida is aware that Creative Works Fund grant monies are raised at the expense of the health and rights of workers globally. Thus, we maintain our boycott of Levi's products and continue to share our story of the injustice that took place in the early 1990s.

Fuerza Unida currently works with women in the Mayan communities of Mexico and other parts of Latin America to empower each other in our work as seamstresses, weavers and business owners. We run a sewing cooperative project and an intergenerational community based organization that feeds, informs and works with the people of our community to move us towards social, economic and environmental justice.

Fuerza Unida has decided that justice is for us to create. Today, we boycott Levi's products and continue to remind our community about the importance of supporting worker's rights locally and abroad. We offer you the same reminder and hope that, after all of these years, you would prioritize the rights of workers to safe and just treatment and to jobs with dignity throughout all of your companies' and affiliates' operations. We look forward to hearing from you on the status of your progress in this area. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

The Women of Fuerza Unida