The Common Good
March 2005

Acting Out About Spilt Milk

by Rose Marie Berger, Mark Betz | March 2005



Four thousand people joined hands in an extended human chain in downtown Colonia Suiza, Uruguay, to defend their jobs with Italian dairy transnational Parmalat. "One out of every four people in this city of 9,000 depend on the Parmalat factory for work," reported the Latin American and Caribbean News Agency (ALC). The 2003 collapse of Parmalat has threatened the jobs of thousands of workers worldwide. In what Forbes called "Europe’s Enron," Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi and a number of top officials were arrested. While the international financial community jumped to the rescue of Parmalat investors to address the $26 billion it owes creditors, little has been done to protect workers. The "human chain of hope" was organized by labor unions and the leadership of Colonia Suiza’s evangelical, Catholic, and Baptist churches, according to the ALC - all of which rang their church bells to call townspeople to the mobilization.

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