On July 26, 2014, the women workers of Pactiv were joined by over 100 workers, families and concerned residents in a rally to call on the wholesale giant Costco tostop selling Reynolds’ sweatshop products. Together with the Ain’t I A Woman?! Campaign, Pactiv workers are calling for a boycott of Reynolds products, until Reynolds meets workers’ demands.
In June 2010, workers from Pactiv Corp’s (a subsidiary of Reynolds Group) packing department decided to organize and demand better conditions after one worker passed out from exhaustion due to the extreme heat and lack of water. When the company laid of the 60% of the workers involved in this organizing effort, the remaining workers were forced to speed up production and work up to 84 hours a week, causing many injuries and even permanent disability.
Li Ming, one of the workers who remained said, “Those of us who did not get fired had to do all the work of those that did. They forced us to do overtime, and if we refused they deducted a point. Too many points and you get fired.” The speed up went from 80 boxes per day before the layoff, to up to 180 boxes per day. “Even the machines were breaking”, said Li Ming.
Now, the workers and supporters are calling for Costco, one of Pactiv’s biggest buyers, to comply with its own Supplier Code of Conduct, which states that its suppliers should not force ‘mandatory excess overtime’, precisely what the women workers say took place at Pactiv.