Dispatch from New York

Our first week in the Organizing Beyond Barriers program gave us an opportunity to inform CVS employees and customers about one of the vendors for some CVS stores in Los Angeles, the airline catering company Sky Chefs.

Food prepared in Sky Chefs kitchens is sold in retail outlets as well as in-flight, and nearly 7,000 Sky Chefs workers, UNITE HERE members, have been bargaining their contract for over a year.

On Thursday, June 9, 2011, my fellow Summer Organizer Yoel and I met up with the shop steward from the Pfizer cafeteria, Evelyn Ponce, the shop steward from the Ernst and Young cafeteria, Marc Richmond, organizer Milan Rahman, and four of my friends, to inform personnel at two CVS stores in Manhattan about food safety issues that the FDA and local authorities have found with Sky Chefs products.

After speaking with managers in the stores and urging them to take up the issue with CVS corporate, we also passed out leaflets to customers outside the stores.

Although several CVS employees tried to remove us from the premises, we successfully exercised our rights to speak, first to talk to the managers inside the store and then to share information with customers outside. CVS stopped short of calling the police, but not before we made our voices heard!

-Erika, Summer Organizer, New York City