SEIU (Services Employees International Union) Local 2 call for an immediate fair resolution of the Tropicana workers’ strike after a worker was violently assaulted on the picket line by a relation of a member of the Tropicana management team. The incident occurred on the picket line yesterday on Friday, December 18th.
The assailant was a sibling of Tropicana’s HR manager. While leaving the property premises, the assailant got agitated and first tried to run through the picketers with her car several times before exiting the vehicle, screaming, “I’m going to fucking run you over, move out of the way, you bitch.”
Workers tried to deescalate the situation and called the police, but the assailant fixated on a nearby female worker. Without warning, the assailant punched and pushed this worker. The force of the attack threw the assaulted worker face-first across the concrete, causing her jeans to be ripped and her knee to be bloodied and swollen. As the worker lay on the ground, the assailant shouted, “you fucking bitch, Karen [Tropicana’s HR manager] gave you the job, you should be grateful, I’m going to end you.”
Simone Seelochan was one of the 22 witnesses at the scene. Seelochan says: “I have never witnessed something so aggressive and violent. We have been out in the cold chanting peacefully for 6 weeks straight meeting all kinds of people and they were all kind.”
She continues, “To be violated in such a physical way has left us all shaken. Her threats and abuse are an extension of how management treats their staff. Management has been telling us for so long that we deserve nothing but crumbs now we’re being beaten into believing it.”
Tropicana management’s intransigence is responsible for placing workers on the picket line, forcing them out during a worsening pandemic and in cold weather. This situation always held potential for adverse results, and SEIU Local 2 holds Tropicana management responsible for the violent incident yesterday. After six weeks of picketing, it’s time that Tropicana bring workers back to work and end the years of unfair wage freezes that engendered this strike.