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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

20: Who I Boycott and Why

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

origami frog made from a one dollar bill
Look ma! A dolla-dolla bill frog!

Howdy! So before I delve into my boycott list, I will admit I’m not boycotting Amazon despite their abysmal business practices and the way they treat their workers. Why do I give them my money if they’re evil? Probably for the same reason most Americans don't buy fair trade chocolate, despite knowing non-fair trade chocolate is being grown/collected by (sometimes kidnapped) child slaves. Convenience and it’s cheaper than the alternative. By which I mean, being unable to drive and marrying a man who hates shopping, going out, the very idea of spending money on life’s pleasures—means if I want to buy something, I must resort to the internet, and shipping is expensive outside of Amazon. So, while I’m voting with my wallet where feasible, I’m hardly morally infallible when spending.

That said, I’m boycotting:

Nestle’s food & drink empire: They are literally responsible for killing babies. You might say, oh well, that was in the 70s and 80s. They're a different company now, different leadership and all! Besides, they learned from it right? No they did not. They are still pushing their free formula samples onto new moms in poverty-stricken places, convincing mothers that their formula is better than breastmilk, and then by the time the free/discounted formulas run out, sometimes the mothers cant produce breast milk anymore. So not only do they spend all their limited income on formula, the babies starve if they run out. And those babies would have benefited more from their mother's antibodies and immunities which would have been passed through the breast milk. Yes, there are mothers who can’t produce breast milk who benefit from discounted formula, but not all, and regardless, spreading misinformation, at the cost of infants’ lives, is heinous. Oh, and they benefit directly from child slavery, not that our USA Congress will hold them accountable. And aside from their amoral business practices towards the communities where they get their water to repackage (at great cost to the environment) and resell, the CEO also denies access to clean drinking water as a human right (says that’s extreme).

Disney: Disney doesn't like to pay their artists/writers. They have (largely successfully) lobbied to have every major USA copyright law catered to better suit their needs, and now, they’re trying to change copyright law again so that when they buy the contracts to creative works, they will gain the copyright licenses to those works, but not the liability to pay the creators. So they buy the profits, but not the costs of those contracts, essentially. For example, they refused to pay Alan Dean Foster the royalties for his many Star Wars universe books when they bought Star Wars. They refused to even meet with him unless he signed an NDA first which is not at all normal nor ethical. While his case was eventually resolved thanks to public pressure, other writers are still facing these issues. They also refuse to pay their employees a living wage, so they've resorted to going on strike.

Kelloggs food & drinks empire: Their workers are on strike for better, safer, working conditions, better pay, and benefits. While workers have been struggling through 7 day work weeks, and so much overtime they only have time to sleep at home, their company has made a ton of profit and the employees, while paid decently, were only paid such due to working insane hours, not from raises on their regular pay. Workers rights are human rights and people should have time to live, not just work, and if the company is doing well, the workers keeping it going should be rewarded. UPDATE 12/21/2021: The strike is over. The workers won. I'm still mad at Kellogg's for holding out as long as they did and threatening to move to Mexico so my boycott continues.

Frito-Lays: Their workers were on strike for better, safer, working conditions, better pay, and benefits. They never should have had to strike to end suicide shifts. My money is better spent elsewhere.

Dole / Chiquita: The banana wars were run by Dole, and (United Fruit, since rebranded as) Chiquita, with the support of the USA government, wherein people died so they could continue to sell bananas cheaply for a profit, violently striking down attempts at unionizing and the like.

Susan G. Komen: They throw very little money at actual cancer research. They habitually sue actual non profits over their use of "for the cure." At best, they raise awareness of breast cancer. Is there anyone who doesn't know about breast cancer? There are tons of cancer non profits that actually help people or invest more in cancer research and this ain't the one.

H&M: One of their Manhattan locations had a lice problem and an employee had to go to Twitter to have it handled because management said to ignore the problem.

Boycott Light:

Mars : They use child slaves. Why a light boycott then? Chocolate is a treat in our household. We just buy a couple of Fair Trade pieces at a time. The exception is Halloween when we buy bulk candy, and unfortunately, bulk Fair Trade chocolates are out of the budget. Also, we use Banfield for pet emergencies that occur when our vet is closed, as Banfield is open on the weekends and at night. If you weren't aware, yes, Banfield is owned by Mars.

Hershey : They use child slaves. Why a light boycott then? Chocolate is a treat in our household. We just buy a couple of Fair Trade pieces at a time. The exception is Halloween when we buy bulk candy, and unfortunately, bulk Fair Trade chocolates are out of the budget. This year we bought Reese’s which are owned by Hershey.

No longer boycotting:

McDonalds & Wendy’s: I boycotted them due to claims they used prison labor, but Politifact Debunked those and I couldn’t find original claims debunking their debunk so guess those 2 year long boycotts end now, which is great for me because I love McDonalds.

TL;DR; Advice? Vote with your wallet. Aside from actual voting, boycotting is an action we can take to incite the changes we want to see. Shop local when possible. Most corporations in the USA cut corners, keeping employees at part time to avoid paying them benefits, paying as little per hour as they can get away with. Walmart comes to mind but they're hardly unique. When you can avoid it, don't throw your money at a corporation. Buy from small, local, family owned businesses where the profit is going back into your local community. Want to start your own boycott list? Here's a list of some of the worst companies, with regards to their treatment of employees, in the USA.

Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!

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