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TEAMSTERS LAUNCH NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF HASBRO TOYS; LOCKED-OUT WORKERS CALL FOR CONSUMER SUPPORT OF CAMPAIGN FOR GOOD AMERICAN JOBS

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Teamsters Union today launched a national boycott of Hasbro Toys at a 5 p.m. news conference in front of the company's Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters. Jerry O'Connor, a business agent with Teamsters Local Union 251, which represents warehouse workers at the company's facility, made this statement:
 Teamsters Local 251 represents the people who work in the warehouse of the largest toy company in the world -- Hasbro Toys. Many of those workers are here with me today. They're not at work because Hasbro has locked them out. We're here to tell you about what the company has done and to launch a public information campaign that we will take all over New England, across the country, and into Mexico.
 We are today calling for a boycott of Hasbro Toys until the company deals fairly with its workers. In the days ahead we will be mobilizing the Teamsters Union's 1.5 million-member strength to urge people all over the country to take a stand with us for good American jobs and to send Hasbro a message: Today there's a new administration in Washington, a new spirit in the country, and corporate greed is out of style.
 Many of you have heard this story -- but for those who haven't, let me lay it out quickly. Hasbro Toys wants to take the wages of the people who come to work in their warehouse and cut them in half. Does Hasbro have to make cuts because of hard times? Are they being hounded by their competition? No -- just the opposite. Times are very good for Hasbro. Sales are up 40 percent, profits are up 37 percent. Times are so good, in fact, that the company richly rewarded its top management -- with raises averaging 33 percent! With the fat stock option package the company threw in, that adds up to an average compensation of nearly $2 million each.
 Hasbro treats people at the top very well. But Hasbro has a double standard. Eleven days before Christmas, in the middle of contract negotiations, Hasbro locked out its warehouse employees. With only one hour's notice this company that makes its biggest profits of the year at Christmas time, put its warehouse employees out in the street.
 Hasbro is holding a reception here today at their headquarters to show what a good citizen of the community they are. They are talking about an event we all support -- the First International Scholar- Athlete Games -- which will be held here in Rhode Island this summer. This world-class event will bring national and international attention to our state, along with revenue and jobs. Hasbro is trying to polish its image by associating itself with these games. But that's pure hypocrisy.
 If Hasbro cares about the community -- why have they threatened to wipe out 400 jobs here? Hasbro has said they will send their manufacturing and warehouse operations to their plants in Mexico where they can hire workers for as little as $4 to $7 per day if they don't get the wage cuts they want. According to the Wall Street Journal -- if the North American Free Trade Agreement is ratified, 25 percent of American corporations have said they will do what Hasbro is doing -- use the threat of moving to Mexico as a club to force workers in this country to accept lower wages. Is that what a good community citizen does?
 If Hasbro is interested in promoting world-class athletic competition -- why are they tilting the playing field for their own workers -- forcing them to negotiate for their jobs while standing locked out in the cold?
 Hasbro's locked-out warehouse workers are fighting back. Starting today we will be reaching out to tell our story to consumers in New England, then across the country, and in Mexico.
 1. Teamsters and others who support justice for the locked-out Hasbro workers will conduct mass leafletting to ask consumers to join us in our fight to keep good jobs in America. Teamsters will distribute thousands of leaflets at stores all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the next two weeks. In the next six weeks, the consumer information campaign will be expanded first to cover all of New England and then the entire country.
 2. New York City's toy fair is the biggest industry event of the year. When the buyers from all the major toy chains get to the Big Apple, Teamsters will be out in force to let them know that we will be at their stores to spread the word about our boycott.
 3. We will not limit our efforts to this country. In early February, Hasbro workers will take part in a fact-finding mission to Mexico that is being led by Sen. Paul Wellstone. The delegation will inspect Hasbro plants in Mexico and will meet with trade union and community leaders. We will prepare a special report on working and living conditions among Mexican workers employed by multinational corporations operating in Northern Mexico.
 We will not stop until we have exposed Hasbro's greed for what it is, and until Hasbro understands that fair competition and good citizenship have to begin at home.
 -0- 1/20/93
 /CONTACT: Nancy Stella or Matt Witt of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 202-624-6911/
 (HAS)


CO: International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Hasbro Toys ST: Rhode Island IN: REA SU:

IH -- DC008 -- 7145 01/20/93 17:44 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 20, 1993
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