The Indian steelworkers we’ve been following, who in May began peace-action, known as satyagrhah to bring attention to their plight against Sigma International, suspended their 29-day hunger strike at a rally outside the Department of Justice on Wednesday, June 11, following a wave of support from government officials, labor and civil rights activists, and religious leaders nationwide.
“We have confidence to suspend our hunger strike today because we have faith in these allies to fight alongside us until the traffickers are brought to justice,” said Indian Workers’ Congress organizer Sabulal Vijayan. “With our hunger strike, we have won concrete actions that will help protect future workers from the nightmare of forced labor we suffered.”
United States Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was present at the rally. He called the treatment of the workers by their former employer, Signal International, “wrong, inhumane, and immoral.” Kucinich and 17 other US Congress-members sent a letter to US Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week demanding he “take the steps necessary to ensure the workers’ continued presence so that DOJ can continue this important investigation of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and forced labor and bring these traffickers to justice.”
Kucinich has also promised to hold a Congressional hearing on abuses of guest workers by Signal and other companies.
Also present at the rally according to Jobs With Justice were:
- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickeled and Dimed
- Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
- Jon Hiatt, General Counsel, AFL-CIO
- John Cavanagh, director, Institute of Policy Studies
- John Flynn, President, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
- Indian Workers’ Congress organizer Sabulal Vijayan
- Saket Soni, director, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
More information at Joe’s Union Review.