A FAITH WITNESS TO NABISCO WORKERS’ JUST STRUGGLE

I am part of the Faith Labor Committee of Portland Jobs with Justice, and we support the workers at Nabisco who are on strike.  Having worked mandatory overtime and in difficult conditions throughout the pandemic, these union workers are being asked to sacrifice even more by giving up overtime pay, pensions, and more!  Meanwhile, parent company Mondelez International recorded more than $3.5 billion in profits in 2020, paying the CEO $17 million.  We say “no” to corporate greed and “yes” to worker rights!  I was honored to give this prayer at the picket line rally on August 28, 2021.

Prayer for the Striking Workers at Nabisco in Portland, Oregon

By The Reverend Connie Yost

We gather today near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers on land worked and loved by many native tribes in the past.  We honor the reclaiming of an important native site not too far from here, called Neerchokikoo [near-cho-kee-koo] by the Native American Youth & Family Center. 

May our words, actions and hearts join together today in solidarity also with the native community on whose sacred land we stand.

Let us pray.

We gather today in the spirit of life, love and solidarity with the Nabisco workers who so courageously are striking for their human rights.  Let each one of us in our own way, within our own faith tradition or no faith tradition at all, affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each of them.   

The workers before us work hard for too little; they see their strong work ethic being exploited by mandatory overtime, their family time taken away, and themselves used callously, as machines, not people. 

We affirm the dignity of these workers, who deserve time off to care for and enjoy their own families and friends.  We abhor the exploitive policies of Nabisco that asks workers to make concessions while the company posts record profits.  We say “no” to the greed that asks many to sacrifice for the benefit of a few.

Let us each call on our own source of strength so we can find it in our heart to stand with these workers even when the going gets tough.

Workers, may you know that are hearts are open to you in love, justice and hospitality.  May the strike soon bear fruit and your dignity be affirmed. 

This we pray, in the spirit of life, love and solidarity. 

Amen.

Cross-posted from Holy Places, the blog by Rev. Connie Yost The Rev. Connie Yost is an ordained Unitarian Universalist community minister. She has served in community ministry for the last 20 years focused on social justice for the underserved and often invisible and forgotten — poor, disabled, very young and elderly. Connie currently serves as President of the Board of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest, which advocates for farm workers as directed by its partners – PCUN United Farm Workers, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Western Farmworker’s Association and other farm worker organizations as directed by the National Farm Worker Ministry, where she also serves as board member. She is the founder of Friends Stay Warm, a nonprofit ministry dedicated to supporting low-wage workers and immigrant detainees through cash assistance and advocacy. She serves on the Faith Labor Committee of Portland Jobs with Justice, supporting the Burgerville fast-food workers as they strive to get an historic union contract. She is the Treasurer of the Oregon Poor People’s Campaign. Connie also serves as a trained spiritual director, preacher, teacher, activist, and minister of rites of passage. For her full bio, please see the blog post.

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