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Published: Sunday, 6/30/2002

FLOC takes fight against pickle-brand to Wal-Mart

BOWLING GREEN - About 70 supporters of a Toledo migrant workers union protested outside the Wal-Mart here yesterday to try to convince the chain to stop selling Mount Olive pickles.

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee is leading a boycott of the North Carolina-based pickle company, because it has refused to enter into a three-way contract with migrant workers and pickle growers in North Carolina.

FLOC leaders have been trying to unionize migrants who work in the fields in the South. They insist the only way to do that is to have a three-way contract with the workers, the growers, and the companies that produce the food, the same way the union arranged contracts for migrant workers in Ohio and Michigan years ago.

Wal-Mart is the only chain in northwest Ohio that has not stopped selling the pickles, Morgan Guyton, FLOC communications director, said.

“It's obviously going to be hard to convince the decision-makers over at Wal-Mart to stop carrying the Mount Olive pickles,” he said. “[We want] Wal-Mart to know that we're out there and that we're strong and that we have lots of supporters in the area.”

“We're going to start in Bowling Green, and we will expand and step up from there depending on what happens,” he said.

Bill Wertz, a spokesman for Wal-Mart which is based in Arkansas, said that he was not familiar with the issue, but encouraged rally organizers to get in touch with company officials.

For the most part, though, he said, “We are customer-oriented as opposed to being cause-oriented.”

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