April 20, 2007
Check out this exclusive video from the CIW's "Concert for Fair Food"!
Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine performing an original song penned in honor of the CIW's McDonald's victory!
Here's what Tom Morello had to say about the "Concert for Fair Food": "It was very exciting for everybody in the room, myself included. I mean, the place was just packed to the rafters and even the stage was packed with this ring of 25 photographers two feet away from us while we were playing, so it was kind of a trippy, you know, way to do our first show. But it was a great cause and we were happy to be a part of the Immokalee farmworkers victory." Read more!
And don't miss SPIN Magazine's coverage of the "Concert for Fair Food": "Morello, de la Rocha Rally 'Round the Worker'" (4/16/07)April 15, 2007
Truth Tour, "Concert for Fair Food" rock Chicago's House of Blues and shakes the house of fast-food!...
By all measures, the 2007 Truth Tour was a landmark event, from the announcement of the precedent-setting agreement with McDonald's and its suppliers at the Carter Center in Atlanta to the unforgettable "Concert for Fair Food" at Chicago's House of Blues! Click here to check out all the pictures, reports and media from the Truth Tour that launched the MOVEMENT for Fair Food!
April 9, 2007CIW, McDonald's, McD's suppliers reach agreement to improve farmworker wages and working conditions!
With the arrival of the 2007 Truth Tour in Chicago just days away, the CIW, McDonald's, and its suppliers gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta on Monday, April 9, to announce an agreement that guarantees:
- A penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes for McDonald's;
- A stronger code of conduct based on the principle of worker participation;
- And a collaborative effort to develop a third party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating workers' complaints of abuse. Read the press release here!
Read the media reports here:
- Miami Herald (4/10): "Now the pressure is on Burger King"
- NewStandard (4/19): "After McDonald's victory, labor activists target Burger King"
- Orlando Sentinel (4/17): "What's the big deal about an extra penny?"
- In These Times (4/12): "A win for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers"
- Chicago Tribune (4/13): "Burger King next target of Coalition"
- The Guardian, London (4/11): "Farmworkers win case against McDonald's"
- Palm Beach Post, Op-ed (4/15): "Pickers get this break"
- St. Petersburg Times (4/16): "Tomato pickers pressure brings extra penny"
- Ft. Myers News Press (4/14): "Farmworker advocates protest Burger King"
- Palm Beach Post (4/10): "McDonald's agrees to increase pay for workers who harvest its tomatoes"
- Chicago Tribune (4/10): "McDonald's case could set standard"
- Business Week (4/9): "McDonald's to pay more for tomatoes"
- CNN (4/9/07): "McDonald's agrees to pay spike for tomatoes"
- La Jornada, Mexico (4/10): "Ganan campesinos inmigrantes de Florida demanda contra McDonald's"
- WireTap Magazine (4/11): "Huge victory for immigrant farmworkers and student activists"
Check back in the coming weeks as we chart the course for the continued expansion of farm labor justice through the fast-food industry. In the words of the Bard, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown...PACK YOUR BAGS, WE'RE HEADING TO CHICAGO!
Final preparations are underway in Immokalee and across the country as the 2007 McDonald's Truth Tour is set to hit the road...
In Minnesota, CIW member and 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate Romeo Ramirez addressed community, student, and labor gatherings as the Twin Cities gear up to send a delegation to Chicago. Read a story from one of those meetings here.
Meanwhile, in the Windy City suburb of Oak Park, near McD's Oak Brook headquarters, some local Fair Food activists got their protest on -- and did a little last-minute outreach for the upcoming two days of action -- with a warm-up action at a local McDonald's (pictured here on the right). Multiply that by several thousand and you'll get an idea of the two days of action this April 13th and 14th! Click here to see how you can get on the bus in your commnunity to be there for all the action. See you soon!SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTION CALLING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTIONS IN McD'S SUPPLY CHAIN MOVES FORWARD FOLLOWING SEC RULING!...
In a March 22nd letter to McDonald’s Corporation from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC announced that it was “unable to concur” with McDonald’s attempts to exclude a shareholder resolution submitted by CIW allies from the McDonald’s 2007 Proxy Statement. As such, McDonald’s shareholders should have the opportunity to vote on the resolution, entitled “Human Rights Standards,” at the McDonald's Annual Meeting in May.
The resolution urges the Board of Directors to adopt, implement, and enforce a revised company-wide Code of Conduct, inclusive of suppliers and sub-contractors, based on the International Labor Organization's ("ILO") Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other relevant ILO conventions.
The primary filers of the resolution are the Adrian Dominican Sisters and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund. Additional co-filers of the resolution are the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province. The resolution was submitted in support of the CIW’s efforts to get McDonald’s to require its tomato suppliers to respect workers’ universally–accepted human rights, including the right to overtime pay and freedom of association, just as McDonald’s currently requires of factories manufacturing its toys in China.
Principles set forth in the resolution are drawn from the ILO's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other relevant ILO conventions, and include:
- Employment shall be freely chosen. There shall be no use of forced labor, including bonded or voluntary prison labor (ILO Conventions 29 and 105);
- Workers are entitled to overtime pay when working more than 8 hours per day (ILO Convention 1);
- All workers have the right to form and join trade unions and to bargain collectively. (ILO Conventions 11, 87, 98, 110);
- Worker representatives shall not be the subject of discrimination and shall have access to all workplaces necessary to enable them to carry out their representation functions (ILO Convention 135).
The primary filers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers encourage all institutional and individual shareholders to vote for this resolution as a way of advancing farmworkers’ human rights and socially responsible purchasing within the McDonald’s Corporation and its supply chain.
THE ALLIANCE FOR FAIR FOOD ANNOUNCES SIX NEW ENDORSERS!
And the Presbyterian News Service puts out one heck of an article on the upcoming Truth Tour...
The Alliance for Fair Food just keeps growing bigger and stronger by the day -- great news for the battles that lie ahead and the looming showdown with McDonald's for not just fast, but FAIR, food! The latest organizations to join the Alliance include:
- National Jobs with Justice
- Oxfam America
- National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA)
- And three great Illinois-based organizations, Central Illinois Jobs with Justice, the Living Wage Association of Champaign County, IL, and our old friends at the Industrial Workers of the World, Central Illinois branch.
Welcome to the Campaign for Fair Food, everyone, and get ready for the exciting days ahead as we move toward the biggest Truth Tour yet in Chicago!
“From Florida to Chicago and Atlanta to Urbana, Presbyterians of all ages are on the move; hosting the CIW in their congregations, sharing in worship and education, and joining the farmworkers at protests that demand McDonald’s work with the CIW to end sweatshop conditions in the fields of its tomato suppliers,” said the Rev. Noelle Damico, associate for Fair Food and coordinator of the PC(USA)’s Campaign for Fair Food.
Damico said she believes church members are “determined and hopeful” that gains in farmworkers’ rights made possible by the Taco Bell pact would not be lost in the fight against McDonald’s
“Presbyterians are not about to let those advances be turned back,” Damico said." Read more here!
March 28, 2007
NATIONAL STUDENT ORG'S TELL McD'S CEO SKINNER: "OUR PATIENCE IS ALL BUT EXHAUSTED"...
Nine of the country's leading student organizations have sent a joint letter to McDonald's on the eve of the 2007 Truth Tour, advising McD's CEO Jim Skinner to "not underestimate our tenacity or the proven strength of our alliance with Florida's farmworkers." The student letter comes only a week after 185 religious leaders sent their own letter to McDonald's.
The organizations include: Student/Farmworker Alliance, United Students Against Sweatshops, United States Student Association, Student Labor Action Project, National Latino/a Law Student Association, United Students for Fair Trade, Student Action with Farmworkers, Student Environmental Action Coalition, and the Living Wage Action Coalition. Here's an excerpt:
"The simple fact is this: Florida's agricultural employers -- many of them your company's suppliers and "partners" in social responsibility -- have a long and disreputable track record of farm labor abuse, a record that has only grown worse since the launching of SAFE. They are, in short, the very foxes that have been raiding the henhouse for years.
This fact has doomed your company's employer-controlled approach to social responsibility to failure from the start. Credibility is absolutely essential to the success of any social responsibility strategy. Yet as long as your partners have no credibility whatsoever when it comes to the protection of their workers' rights and welfare, the SAFE code of conduct will have no credibility in the eyes of the public. And as a consequence, McDonald's still has no credible mechanism to guarantee consumers that its products are in fact free of forced labor.
In summary, McDonald's actions since the announcement of the Taco Bell agreement have not only proven to be a dismal failure by any objective measure, but have actually been destructive, serving to undermine farmworkers' fragile gains and to give comfort to growers who, for the first time in decades, were under pressure to institute real labor reforms in the wake of that historic agreement. Instead, McDonald's has actually managed to embolden growers determined to thwart progress." read more
March 26, 2007
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH TAKES A STAND FOR FAIR FOOD!
2.4 million-strong Church joins AFF in calling for Fair-Food that respects human rights, not fast-food that exploits human beings!
At its meeting in Portland, Oregon, earlier this month, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution to support the Alliance for Fair Food. The resolution:
"calls on the church to promote principles and practices of socially responsible purchasing in the corporate food industry in order to advance the human rights of farmworkers by (1) encouraging study and appropriate action on these matters by missions, parishes, dioceses, and provinces of the Episcopal Church; and (2) urge the church at every level to respond to possible calls for boycotts and other actions, shareholder resolutions, and peaceful public witness as means of advancing the goals of the resolution."
The resolution goes on to cite the historic agreement that ended the Taco Bell boycott, and commends partnership with the CIW and the Alliance for Fair Food. The Episcopal Church joins the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Board of Church of Society of the United Methodist Church, and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries in supporting the Alliance for Fair Food, bringing millions of Christians and their churches behind the campaign and before McDonald's to demand an end to the exploitation of farmworkers in its supply chain. The CIW is honored to count the Episcopal Church among its allies.March 23, 2007
TWO GREAT NEW ARTICLES ON THE CAMPAIGN AND McD'S!
Plus, an E-Action reminder... Wiretapmag.org just ran two great pieces on the Campaign for Fair Food and McDonald's. If you have a few minutes you should really check them out:
- Open Letter to Ronald McDonald
By Jordan Buckley, March 21, 2007
Opinion: Young activists and immigrant farmworkers succeeded in stopping Taco Bell's abusive treatment of their workers. McDonald's is up next, warns a young organizer.
- Unhappy Meal
By Adam Doster, March 21, 2007
Immigrant farmworkers battle for workers' rights, escalate their campaign against McDonald's.
Also, if you haven't done so already, please to take a few minutes to send a message to McDonald's to let them know you support the call for fair wages and farm labor conditions in their tomato suppliers' operations. Click here now to participate in an online petition demanding that McDonald's implement fair wages and real rights for the farmworkers who pick its tomatoes.March 22, 2007
THOUSANDS COME OUT IN IMMOKALEE FOR CIW'S 2007 " PARTY!
This year's "Año del Trabajador" celebration at the CIW headquarters was bigger than ever, a fitting turnout for the ramp up to the biggest Truth Tour yet!
More than 3,000 people came together for a day of music, laughter, and reflection on the contradiction between the tremendous wealth created by Immokalee's labor, on the one hand, and the grinding poverty to which Immokalee is condemned by companies like McDonald's, on the other.
Now, while that may not sound like a party to you, it was in Immokalee, because for the first time in a long time there is hope and a way out of the poverty that has plagued Immokalee for decades. And the McDonald's Truth Tour this April is the next step on that road. Click here to see pictures and a report from the party!March 20, 2007
American Rights At Work, a leading voice for workplace democracy in the country today, is taking on the CIW’s McDonald’s campaign with a national E-Action Alert!
Click here now to participate in an online petition demanding that McDonald’s implement fair wages and real rights for the farmworkers who pick its tomatoes. And after you sign the petition, you can help spread the word by sending the following message to 10 friends:
“Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the fast food industry are among this country's most exploited workers: subpoverty wages, no rights to overtime pay, no benefits of any kind.
Two years ago, Taco Bell did something about it -- agreeing to pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes to double the workers' earnings, and establishing a real code of conduct to ensure safe working conditions. But the fast food giant McDonald's has refused to follow Taco Bell's lead.
Consumers have joined together with religious, human rights, student, and workers' rights groups across the country to protest McDonald's behavior to advance real rights for these workers.
I just signed a petition to McDonald's to urge them to do better. Will you join me? Just click here to tell McDonalds these workers deserve real rights and fair wages.”
March 19, 2007
RELIGIOUS LEADERS FLOCK TO SIGN LETTER TO McDONALD'S!
Letter calls on McD's to "not let farmworkers and their families suffer one more day"...
Ten days ago, March 9, the energy was high as religious leaders attending the National Council of Church’s Education and Advocacy Days stood in line (left) to sign-on to a letter to McDonald’s decrying the human rights abuses faced by farmworkers picking for the fast-food giant’s suppliers.
After a rousing sermon by the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly, people of faith stood 5 deep in order to witness to their hope that McDonald’s ensure the human rights of the men and women harvesting their tomatoes. By the time the signing was done, more than 160 religious leaders had added their names to the letter, with signatories from Cape Town, South Africa to Puerto Rico, Chicago, IL, to Pasadena, CA, Memphis TN, and Goshen, IN!
Here's an excerpt of the religious leaders' letter:
"The human rights abuses endured by tomato pickers are a moral outrage not only because they are grave, but because they are preventable. Within your hands lie both the power and the moral responsibility to end these horrendous conditions in your own supply chain. And there is a clear path forward: work together with the farmworkers who are harvesting your tomatoes, who are enduring and resisting these abuses, and who have established a proven model with Taco Bell for addressing them." Read the full letter here (pdf)
You can see the full list of signatories here (pdf), a list that has now reached 185 and includes the Reverend Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (here in photo on right), and the Reverend Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). If you would like to sign-on to the letter, send your full name, title, congregation/organization, address, and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional signatures will be forwarded to McDonald's.March 16, 2007
AFL-CIO PRESIDENT JOHN SWEENEY CONFIRMS THAT HE WILL JOIN THE PROTEST ON APRIL 14TH IN CHICAGO!
Also, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, the South Central Farmers, and Just Coffee join the AFF endorsers list...
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has confirmed that he will be there in Chicago on April 14th, when farmworkers from Immokalee and allies from across the country gather in McDonald’s hometown to demand that the fast-food giant end the exploitation of farmworkers in its supply chain. President Sweeney is a long-time ally of the CIW and visited Immokalee with Mrs. Ethel Kennedy last year to see conditions in the community and the fields first-hand. His presence is sure to inspire a strong turnout for the April 14th action by Chicago’s formidable labor community.
Also, Stewart Acuff, the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Director, will be joining us for the action at McDonald’s corporate headquarters on April 13th. Mr. Acuff marched with workers from Immokalee last year at the first McDonald’s Truth Tour and gave a rousing speech at the closing rally.
AND... in Alliance for Fair Food news, the list of endorsers just keeps growing. The latest to join the list are Serj Tankian, lead singer of System of a Down and a co-founder of the Axis of Justice, the South Central Farmers, heroes of the community-based urban farming movement, and Just Coffee, the Madison, WI, based fair trade coffee roaster with the CIW label!
AND... This just in (seriously)!... AFSCME Local 3800 in the Twin Cities has just endorsed the AFF. The Local is also donating funds toward the Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago, so members and other Twin City allies can make it to the protest! The Chicago actions just get better by the minute...March 15, 2007
NAOMI KLEIN, NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD, AXIS OF JUSTICE JOIN THE GROWING LIST OF ENDORSERS OF CAMPAIGN FOR FAIR FOOD!
Meanwhile, McD's top three execs receive over $15 million in bonuses...
As momentum builds for the arrival of the 2007 McDonald's Truth Tour in Chicago for the April 13th and 14th actions, the list of endorsers of the Campaign for Fair Food continues to grow.
This week alone, endorsements have come in from Naomi Klein (author of "No Logo" and "Fences and Windows"), the National Lawyers Guild, and Axis of Justice (the partnership of Serj Tankian of System of a Down, on left in the photo above, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, that has built a coalition of artists and activists to fight for social change). More endorsements are on the way, as artists and human rights activists continue to express their support for a more just food industry.
And speaking of justice in the food industry... Do check out this little item from the Chicago Tribune when you get a chance, "McDonald's CEO gets $8.8 million bonus." The article tells of McDonald's recent distribution of bonuses to its top three executives totalling over $15 million.
Where does McDonald's get the money for such hefty bonuses? Well, in part, by leveraging the buying power of its more than 30,000 restaurants to demand the lowest prices possible for its ingredients. In other words, some of those $15 million come straight out of Immokalee, where workers haven't seen a real raise in the picking piece rate for nearly thirty years.
Taking food from the mouths of thousands of farmworkers and their families, who live in grinding poverty, to give it to three of McDonald's top executives, who live in great wealth... the same executives who, in their infinite wisdom, say that McDonald's can't afford to pay farmworkers one penny more per pound... Are you ready to join us in Chicago yet?March 12, 2007
ANOTHER THREE-PART UPDATE!
The news from the Campaign for Fair Food keeps coming so fast that we can't keep up -- here's another three-part update as the 2007 Truth Tour rapidly aproaches:
Chicago - The organizing team in Chicago held the "Midwest Encuentro" not too long ago, gathering students and youth in a day-long organizing session to lay the groundwork for the mobilization in the weeks ahead for the April 13th and 14th actions. They even got in a little action of their own, depsite a fairly heavy snowfall (right).
Representative Jan Schakowsky confirms for the April 13th rally in front of McD's!...
Representative Schakowsky will join with Dolores Huerta, Kerry Kennedy, and National Council of Churches President Rev. Michael Livingston to support the call for a fast-food industry that doesnt depend on the endless exploitation of farmworkers.
Allies continue to endorse the Alliance for Fair Food and its call for "not just fast, but fair food!"...
The Alliance for Fair Food continues to grow, with a number of new endorsers in just the past several weeks joining the national network in support of the CIW's Campaign for Fair Food. Here's the list of the latest endorsers:
Plus... the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a founding member of the AFF, has given the 2007 Truth Tour top billing on its website! Check it out here!
March 3, 2007
LAWRENCE, KS, FAIR FOOD GROUP KEEPS THE HEAT ON McD'S...
Lawrence, Kansas: On Friday (3/2/07), Lawrence Fair Food rallied outside of McDonald's on a busy street at rush hour. More than thirty people showed up to the Lawrence group's latest action, story designed "to get folks excited for our upcoming trip to Chicago!"... Check out a great story on the action from the KU daily, "Over 1 Billion Angered."
February 22, 2007
TOM MORELLO JOINS ZACK de la ROCHA IN CONFIRMING FOR CHICAGO!
Tom Morello (left), one of the first artists to step up in support of the Taco Bell boycott and a veteran of two Taco Bell Truth Tours, has confirmed that he will be joining the CIW in Chicago for the major rally and "Carnaval" in downtown Chicago on April 14th!
This great news comes just a week after learning that Tom Morello's former partner and front man for the band Rage Against the Machine -- Zack de la Rocha -- would be joining us as well in Chicago for his first Truth Tour.
The work of these two remarkable artists fueled Rage Against the Machine -- arguably the most important rock band to have appeared on the scene in the past 30 years -- during the band's brief but spectacular career. Their activism spurred tens of thousands of young people to think critically about the social and economic conflicts that shape our lives and about their power to play a role in building a more just world. We are thrilled (beyond words, really...) that they have both agreed to join us in Chicago on April 14th for what is shaping up to be an unforgettable event.
February 20, 2007
GREAT NEWS KEEPS COMING IN THREE'S!
On the heels of Zack de la Rocha's confirmation for the Chicago actions, three more high-profile allies have said they'll be there when workers from Immokalee rally outside McDonald's this April. Plus, two more great articles came out this past week. Here' a wrap-up of the latest news...
Dolores Huerta (above) , co-founder of the UFW and a widely-respected leader in the broader civil rights movement in the US, will be lending her presence to the actions in Chicago! Also confirming this week were Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, and Rev. Michael Livingston, President of the National Council of Churches.
In an article, entitled "Florida farm workers take aim at McDonald's" (2/14/07), carried in dozens of papers across the country and overseas, a Reuters correspondent wrote:
"A penny a pound increase for tomatoes may seem like chump change for burger behemoth McDonald's. The hike could make a big difference for the tomato pickers of Florida, however. The state, which has a long history of miserable conditions for farmworkers, is the source of more than 90 percent of the fresh winter tomatoes produced in the United States." read more....
An opinion piece from Sunday, 2/18/07, in the Palm Beach Post praised Taco Bell for taking the lead in improving farmworker wages and challenged the other major brands to follow suit:
"It took courage for Yum Brands Inc., Taco Bell's parent, to become the first fast-food chain to do something meaningful to help thousands of Florida farmworkers earn a living wage... (The CIW) is ready to organize boycotts, and consumers who care about fair play can use their hunger to reward or punish as they see fit. When the choice comes down to Taco Bell, McDonald's or Burger King, go for the tacos and strike a blow for farmworkers' rights." read more....
February 14, 2007
ALL KINDS OF LOVE FOR McDONALD'S ON VALENTINES DAY FROM THE CAMPAIGN FOR FAIR FOOD!
Here's a round-up of the latest news as Fair-Food activists around the country ramp-up for the actions in Chicago this April:
That means you!... From New York to Minnesota, people are organizing to join workers from Immokalee in Chicago for what is sure to be an historic two days of protest. See all the latest on the plans and tools for mobilization, including how you can hook up with transportation to Chicago, here!
Zack confirms!!... Yes, you heard it here first. Zack de la Rocha, best known as the lead singer and lyricist for one of the most politically-charged bands in American music history, Rage Against the Machine, is going to be there with the CIW in Chicago.
The two days of action are shaping up to be a cultural celebration of justice, with artists representing every musical style from the New Orleans brass band tradition to Cuban hip-hop. Stay tuned as the line-up continues to build!
How can they be Happy Meals if the people who make them aren't happy?... Kids across the country are starting to ask why such a nice company like McDonald's is treating the workers who pick its tomatoes so poorly. You can read one recent letter to McDonald's from a young girl in Louisville, Kentucky -- a truly beautiful piece of sincere, thoughtful, and kind writing that would make any parent's heart swell with pride -- by clicking here.
February 9, 2007
Frank Johns, on right, shown here with current FFVA Chairman Jay Taylor, at the 2006 FFVA Convention's "Annual Cracker Breakfast," held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Naples, FL
photo from "The Harvester Online"
"SECOND LENGTHY SENTENCE GIVEN FOR FARMWORKER ABUSE"!... See the Miami Herald article here.
The article asks hard questions about Frank Johns (right) , the north Florida farmer whose crewleader, Ron Evans, was sentenced to 30 years this week for keeping his workers in what federal prosecutors called "a form of servitude." Johns' name surfaced repeatedly in the indictment, but he was not charged in the case.
Johns was the 2004 Chairman of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) and, more recently, the 2006 Chairman of the FFVA's Budget and Finance Committee. The FFVA is McDonald's principal partner in its employer-controlled workers' rights "monitoring" program dubbed "SAFE."
Here's an excerpt from the Miami Herald article (Feb. 8, 2007):
"While farmworker advocates praise the multi-agency crackdown that shut Evans' camps and led to the prison terms, questions persist about the role of the industry that ultimately profits from the laborers. Six times in recent decades, Florida farm bosses have been sent to prison for exploiting workers, but not once in those cases was a Sunshine State grower punished criminally...
'The message for the growers is: How many more times does this have to happen before it's taken seriously?'' asked Laura Germino, coordinator of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' anti-slavery campaign. The coalition, which has long worked with law enforcement to bring abuse of farmworkers to light, played a key role in the Evans case -- starting with a Miami link." READ MORE
And while, without a doubt, growers should be held accountable for the labor abuse that occurs on their farms, the search for accountability can't stop there. The "industry that ultimately profits from the laborers" extends well beyond the farm gates.
Florida produce harvested in abusive conditions has been bought and sold, no questions asked, for decades by the companies that sell food to the public, including the fast-food giants. During that same period, the explosive growth of those restaurant companies has allowed them to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand lower and lower produce prices, exerting a pressure at the farm level that is translated directly into wage cuts for farmworkers (read "Big fast-food contracts breaking tomato repackers," for an inside-the-industry perspective on this chain of profit and poverty).
The food industry only begins in the field. It ends on tens of millions of tables across this country. And if we are to hope to ever truly end farmworker abuse in this country's fields, it's going to require that the major corporate buyers of produce use their leverage to demand higher labor standards -- not lower prices -- to end it.
For more on the origins of the case and the CIW's role in investigating the Evans operation, read the Naples Daily News article and editorial from 9/25/06 here.
On a lighter note... Check out the video of the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray sporting the CIW's hot new t-shirt for their appearance on the CBS morning show this past Superbowl Saturday!.. We are hoping that this is a portent of even better things to come this April in Chicago!January 31, 2007
Workers gathering to look for work facing the pre-dawn cold in Immokalee's central parking lot --
McD's TOMATO SUPPLIER SUED FOR NOT PAYING PICKERS MINIMUM WAGE!
Long-time supplier in hot water once again, after repeated reports of housing, pesticide, and other labor abuse.
Here's what the Ft. Myers News-Press reported in a story today:
"Nearly 200 migrant workers have filed a federal lawsuit against a produce company that grows tomatoes in Immokalee for paying them, they say, less than minimum wage. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Fort Myers, was filed on behalf of more than 3,000 people comprising indigent migrant workers... (The suit) alleges the company owes the plaintiffs more than $250,000 in lost wages and, if certified as a class-action suit to include 3,000 workers, the company could end up paying more than $2 million if it loses." READ MORE
The question must be asked: How much longer will McDonald's keep its head in the sand while the fiction of social responsibility in its tomato suppliers' fields continues to crumble all around it?
AgMart, a key supplier of the grape tomatoes that grace McDonald's salads, has made headlines time and time again, for everything from "crowded, squalid housing," in North Carolina, to rehiring a convicted slaver to "recruit, supervise, and transport farmworkers for Ag-Mart Farms," in Florida. Meanwhile, McDonald's has joined forces with the powerful lobbying firm for Florida's agricultural employers, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA), to create an employer-controlled group to "monitor" workers' rights on growers' farms in Florida. And like clockwork, as soon as McDonald's and the FFVA announce the creation of SAFE, to much fanfare, 2004 FFVA Chairman Frank Johns' crewleader is indicted on more than 50 criminal counts and accused of holding his workers in servitude by federal prosecutors. Last week Johns' crewleader, Ron Evans, received what the Miami Herald called, "the longest sentence handed out for abuse of farmworkers in recent Florida history."
Bogus employer-controlled monitoring groups like SAFE, and shoddy "studies" like the one paid for by McDonald's to "prove" farmworkers aren't poor, may work for a moment to fool some people, but all the PR in the world can't hide forever the essential truth that Florida agriculture is founded on the exploitation of its workers in the fields. At long last, can Ag-Mart's latest scandal be the final straw?January 29, 2007
WORLD HUNGER YEAR AWARDS CIW 2006 "HARRY CHAPIN SELF-RELIANCE AWARD"!
Read about World Hunger Year and about WHY's choice to award its 2006 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award to the CIW. Read "The Voice of the Farmworker" from the WHY site, and while you're there check out this exciting organization that dares to imagine "a world without hunger and poverty." Here's a nice excerpt to get you started: "The CIW is more than an organization. It is a movement that empowers workers to resist exploitation and demand justice." Couldn't have said it better ourselves... Read the full article here!2006 McDONALD's MIDWEST TOUR HIGHLIGHTS!
Don't miss the review of our exciting week in Chicago, including a powerful action at McDonald's global HQ and a marathon day of protests as the CIW and local allies hit the streets of Chicago!...
November 26, 2006
ROLANDO THE CLOWN (RONALD'S LONG-LOST HALF BROTHER...) SIGHTED AT McDONALD'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE IN CHICAGO!
Rolando and his crew hit the streets to help the crowd gathered for the annual holiday parade reflect on the true meaning of the traditional harvest festival.
With thousands of flyers and a parade-sized banner, Ronaldo and his justice-minded team of helpers cast a little light on how McDonald's thanks the farmworkers who harvest the food served in thousands of restaurants across the country every day. See the exclusive pics and report here!
November 3, 2006
FROM BOSTON TO AUSTIN, STUDENT/FARMWORKER ALLIANCE DAYS OF ACTION A ROUSING SUCCESS!
Over 40 communities across the country took part in actions, organized by the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA), to make Fast-Food Fair Food. From major cities (including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Miami, and Denver) to towns like Lawrence, Kansas, and Kalispel, Montana, protesters called for an end to sweatshops in the fields... Click here to see the highlights, including photos, media links, and first-hand reports!
Also... Don't miss the SFA update on the Days of Action! The SFA has put together a far more extensive rundown of all the weekend's actions, with pictures and reports you won't find anywhere else! Click here to see the SFA's report!
PLUS!... Chipotle grilled over farm labor exploitation in NewStandard article: While you're at it, check out an excellent new article taking Chipotle to task for the contradiction between its much-exploited marketing slogan of "Food with Integrity" and the very real exploitation in the fields where its tomatoes are picked. Click here to see the 10/31 NewStandard article "Immokalee Workers Tell Chipotle to Walk its Talk"...MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD FOR LABOR!
Join Sojourners Magazine in telling McDonald's to ensure fair wages for farmworkers by clicking here. Here below is what Sojourners says about why faith should move us to action:
"The Bible teaches God's command that society be organized so that all members have genuine access to the resources needed to live a decent life and provide for their families. As Christians, we stand with these workers in witnessing against unjust corporate practices that undermine human dignity and chip away at the common good. Please take action today to encourage McDonald's to change these deplorable conditions."
Go to the Sojourners Magazine "Take Action" page now and send your email to McDonald's today!
July 24, 2006
NOBEL PRIZE LAUREATE JODY WILLIAMS ENDORSES AFF AND CIW's CAMPAIGN FOR FAIR FOOD!
Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, has endorsed the Alliance for Fair Food and the CIW's campaign to make fast-food fair food, too. In announcing her endorsement, Ms. Williams wrote:
"The work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers on behalf of Florida's farmworkers -- especially its efforts to eliminate forced labor and modern-day slavery in U.S. agriculture -- represents one of the most important human rights struggles of the 21st century. I am proud to add my name to the growing chorus of individuals and institutions demanding justice in Florida's fields and responsible purchasing practices from fast-food giants such as McDonald's and Burger King."
Ms. Williams is widely respected not just for her courageous fight against the use and proliferation of landmines, but for her work as an international activist, teacher, and writer. In endorsing the Alliance for Fair Food (click here to learn more about the AFF), she joins such outstanding individuals and organizations from the world of human rights and social justice as NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Congressman John Lewis, Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt, Professor Noam Chomsky, Amnesty International USA, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and United Students Against Sweatshops. We are humbled by Ms. William's support and look forward to working together with her for greater justice in the country's food industry.May 11, 2006
McD's "STUDY" ON FARMWORKER WAGES SHREDDED BY CRITICS!...
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, more than 30 leading labor and social research experts across the country denounce report, and we've got all their statements here below:
LABOR EXPERTS SAY McD'S STUDY ON FARMWORKER WAGES "SHOULD HAVE NO CREDIBILITY WHATSOEVER"... In April, McDonald's released the results of its long-anticipated study of tomato pickers' wages in its Florida suppliers' operations. The study came up with some pretty remarkable results (according to the report, for example, tomato pickers earn upwards to $18.27/hr and average around $14/hour...) and employed some intriguing methodology to arrive at findings which, though only preliminary, provided the basis for a number of quite far-reaching conclusions.
Well, some of this country's leading labor experts have had a chance to review the study, and the reviews are in... The critics aren't liking what they see:
Those are just a few excerpts from a critical analysis of the McDonald's study -- produced by Dr. Bruce Nissen, Director of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University -- that holds the report up to fundamental research standards and finds it sorely lacking. Dr. Nissen's analysis is supported by thirty scholars from the fields of labor law, labor relations, and social research, including a former General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board and the Dean of the University of Maine Law School, adding:
Perhaps the most concise review of the study's value as science comes from Dr. Fred Seidl, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus, University at Buffalo (SUNY), who wrote:
FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR ROBERT REICH, FORMER NLRB CHAIRMAN WILLIAM GOULD, AND HARVARD LABOR LAW PROFESSOR PAUL WEILER TELL McD's TO "NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH WITH CIW"... A blistering letter signed by three former top labor officials rejects McD's recently released "study" on farmworker wages as "patently aimed at preempting a fair process of engagement with CIW," and says McD's should:
The letter continues:
The letter concludes, "There is no question that McDonalds has the resources and the clout to do these things. It lacks only the will." Read the full letter here.
ALLIANCE FOR FAIR FOOD (AFF) BLASTS McD'S USE OF "CLEARLY ILL-CONCEIVED AND POORLY EXECUTED STUDY FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS PURPOSES," DEMANDS McD's WORK "AS GENUINE PARTNERS OF CIW"... The founding members of the AFF, along with several key member organizations, have joined their voices to those across the country strongly denouncing the McDonald's study on farmworker wages, demanding that McDonald's abandon its public relations strategy and work with the CIW to address the human rights crisis in Florida's fields. Here's an excerpt:
McD's MARKETING "SWEET SPOT" SOUR ON STUDY, TOO... Six national student organizations -- Student/Farmworker Alliance, United Students Against Sweatshops, Student Labor Action Project, National Latino/a Law Student Association, United States Student Association, and the Living Wage Action Coalition -- representing the 18-24 yr. old market demographic McD's has called its "Sweet Spot" have denounced the McD's study in the strongest possible terms. Here's an excerpt:
2006 McDonald's Truth Tour a HUGE success!
Workers declare "aggressive public education campaign"
aimed at McD's, Chipotle... See press release here!
Check out all the Tour pictures, reports, and media by clicking here!
Plus... Don't miss these two great new videos:
March 8, 2006
HISTORIC NEW ALLIANCE ANNOUNCED IN IMMOKALEE!
Lucas Benitez of the CIW serves as MC for the
Click here for more great pictures from the event!
Declaring, "There is today a human rights crisis in Florida's fields," key CIW allies from across the country gathered with workers in Immokalee (right) to announce a powerful new alliance for, "fair wages and working conditions, fundamental human rights and an end to modern-day slavery in the agricultural industry."
Founded by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), Student/Farmworker Alliance, and Interfaith Action, the Alliance for Fair Food (AFF) has been endorsed by nationally and internationally respected organizations and individuals, including: Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Amnesty International USA, United Students Against Sweatshops, the AFL-CIO, author Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt, SEIU, and Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Click here to visit the Alliance for Fair Food website!
Read the AP Article on the event from the Miami Herald by clicking here.
Read the Presbyterian Church (USA) article on the AFF by clicking here.
Read the AFL-CIO blog report on the AFF by clicking here.January 30, 2006
GROWING SCRUTINY OF GROWERS' "SAFE" PROGRAM!
This past weekend, the Lakeland Ledger ran an intriguing article that provides further insight into the origins of the "SAFE" initiative, entitled "Growers Seeking SAFE Haven" (1/29/06):
"WASHINGTON -- Jay Taylor recalls the seeds being sown last spring in a tomato packinghouse in Palmetto, where members of the restaurant industry and Florida agriculture met to discuss an escalating labor war.
That March, Taco Bell had agreed to pay tomato pickers in Florida an extra penny per pound and to demand new labor standards from growers after a threeyear boycott and a run of bad press. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the boycott organizer, had cast an unflattering spotlight on growers with a shame campaign against a big corporate customer.
Vegetable growers and other restaurant chains knew the Bell deal, the first of its kind, tolled for them.
Taylor said the message from restaurant representatives was clear: "You guys have got to do something about this issue."
As the title and the opening paragraphs suggest, the name "SAFE" refers not so much to workers safe from exploitation and abuse, but growers seeking safety from further public criticism by this controversial new initiative. Read the full article by clicking here!January 23, 2006
CIW RESPONDS TO McDONALD'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW STANDARDS...
This past week, McDonald’s and a group of Florida growers announced what they are calling “rigorous new practices” to supplement the previously announced (and roundly criticized) “SAFE” initiative. We have responded to that announcement, and you can see the full response by clicking here. Here below is an excerpt:
"None of what has been announced addresses the fact that farmworkers still desperately need immediate economic relief, a raise in wages so that they can meet their basic needs and live free of the degradation that has been the shame of Florida agriculture for so long...
... McDonald’s approach as announced deflects the entire burden -- and cost – of social responsibility onto it suppliers. Yet McDonald’s bears at least some of the responsibility for farmworkers’ poverty. Why? Because through its high volume purchases, McDonald’s has been able to extract the lowest possible prices for tomatoes from its suppliers – and in so doing exert a downward pressure on farmworker wages – for decades.
In short, McDonald’s profits from farmworker poverty, and so needs to contribute to its alleviation. Yum Brands has now clearly recognized this and is today paying a fairer price for its tomatoes so that workers who pick those tomatoes can receive a fairer wage. No new strategy for social accountability will be complete until McDonald’s recognizes its own responsibility and contributes its share to help raise farmworkers’ unconscionably low wages, too." READ MORE!
Plus, check out the latest story from Alternet!: "Beneath the Golden Arches"December 18, 2005
McDONALD'S CAMPAIGN TAKES OFF!...
Here's the breakdown on all the news, analysis, allies, and action from the first few weeks of this fast developing campaign:
"The SAFE code is a result of 'a growing realization that corporate social responsibility is beginnning to wind its way into farming,' said Ray Gilmer, FFVA's public affairs director."
"Critics however, including national religious, student, and human rights organizations, questioned the credibility of a code of conduct developed by agriculture employers without input from the workers it claims to protect.' READ MORE
the agreement Yum has with the coalition, and
it seems to be working well,' Florida Fruit
and Vegetable Association spokesperson Gilmer
said. "But the concern is that down the
road, if there are additional wages that will
end up making Florida farms the higher-cost
alternative, and they’ll be undercut by
other states or Mexico, since most farms don’t
have these agreements.'
Meanwhile, at the University of Texas, in an article entitled "McDonald's boycott next?" by Jordan Buckley, the question is posed:
"Is McDonald's more concerned with cleaning up human rights violations in the fields or their reputation in the market place? McDonald's role in the creation of SAFE and its code of conduct - a document universally founded upon the principle of transparency - must be immediately clarified." See the whole article here.
ALSO... Click on the links below for
"What We Have Learned"... More questions have been raised than answered by McDonald's response to the call by churches, human rights organizations, and countless consumers to clean up labor abuses in its tomato supply chain. We try to answer those questions in a recap and analysis of the dizzying developments from the past several weeks. Here's an excerpt:
"According to the Palm
Beach Post -- in an article detailing the death
of a bill to protect pesticide workers due,
in part, to the FFVA’s opposition ("In
capitol, reform hits stony ground") -- the FFVA is the state’s 'largest pool
of agricultural donors' to the Florida legislature.
The article goes on to say that, when the FFVA
'recently held its annual convention at the
Ritz-Carlton… the governor and the chairs
of the House and Senate agricultural committees
all made appearances.'... That same 2003 Palm
Beach Post story reported that in her speech
accepting the FFVA’s Lawmaker of the Year
Award, State Senator Nancy Argenziano, Republican
from Crystal River and Chair of the Senate Committee
on Agriculture, declared, 'The essence of freedom
is the limitation of government.'
ALSO... Does Florida Labor Scandal Point to McDonald's Supplier? The top story in the Ft. Myers News Press for Friday December 9, reads:
"The Immokalee contractor who prosecutors called 'brutal' for beating migrant workers and extorting money from them to pay off smuggling debts, spent 33 months in prison for enslaving migrant farmworkers in 1999.
But today he's back in business furnishing labor to farmers in Florida and New Jersey.And it's perfectly legal. He can't own a gun or vote, but the law says he can work as a labor contractor five years after his conviction.
'It may be legal, but it ain't right,' said Doug Molloy, chief assistant U.S. Attorney in Ft. Myers who prosecuted Cuello and his brother Basilio Cuello in 1999." [Click here for full story, "Former smuggler, slaver back in business -- legally"]
The question begs to be asked: If Cuello's back furnishing labor, who buys the tomatoes picked by Cuello's crews? Learn more by clicking here.
NCC TELLS McD'S: "We at the National Council of Churches expect you to do better"!
With a powerful statement that begins: "Every so often there comes a moment that holds out the promise of making the world a significantly better place, if only we take action. Today the McDonald’s corporation is presented with one of those moments -- an opportunity to help transform the agri-food industry in ways that are fairer and more just. The question is, Will it seize this moment or will it retreat and protect the status quo?," the National Council of Churches has brought its considerable moral authority -- and member faith groups representing 45 million people across the nation -- to the growing chorus of national institutions strongly critical of McDonald's' efforts to side-step calls for meaningful labor reforms in its tomato supply chain.
The NCC is the latest of dozens of key allies in the successful Taco Bell Boycott to have taken a strong stand in response to McDonald's' refusal to recognize the principles established in the precedent-setting agreement with Yum Brands. The NCC statement concludes:
Contact McDonald's today and demand they, too, pay a fair price for their tomatoes and work with the CIW to end human rights violations in the fields!
For months, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and allies across the country have called on McDonald's to do the right thing: Follow Taco Bell's lead and work with the CIW to establish fair wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick its tomatoes.
In March of this year, Taco Bell agreed to take responsibility for the abysmal conditions faced by farmworkers who pick its tomatoes. The agreement established a partnership between Yum Brands, Taco Bell’s parent company, and the CIW and set several important precedents for social responsibility in the fast-food industry. Among those precedents, Taco Bell agreed to pay a penny more per pound for the tomatoes it buys from Florida growers, an increase that could nearly double workers' sub-poverty wages, and to establish the first-ever enforceable Code of Conduct for US agricultural suppliers.
Yet despite strong public support for the ground-breaking agreement, McDonald’s has steadfastly refused to follow Taco Bell’s lead on this simple path to justice.
Join the CIW in calling on the world's largest restaurant chain to stop dragging its feet and to work with the CIW to improve the wages and working conditions for the men and women who pick its tomatoes.
Contact McDonald's today and demand they, too, pay a fair price for their tomatoes and work with the CIW to end human rights violations in the fields!
MEDIA MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR FAIR FOOD: BOYCOTT VICTORY AND FUTURE OF THE FAIR FOOD CAMPAIGN FEATURED ON PBS, NPR AND THE NEW YORK TIMES!
ORDER YOUR FREE COPY OF THE "NOW" DVD TODAY!
The hot summer weather brought a storm of media attention to the Taco Bell boycott victory. From newspapers to public radio and television, the boycott victory and ongoing campaign for fair food in the fast food industry are continuing to make waves. For starters, the CIW and the story of the boycott victory were featured on a 15 minute piece that ran on the PBS news program "NOW with David Brancaccio". From the NOW website, here's the description of the program which originally aired on May 27:"It's the dirty little secret of our fast food nation: the people who pick the cheap fruits and vegetables we enjoy every day are among the worst paid and worst treated workers in America. So how did a small band of immigrant workers pressure the largest fast food company in the world to do something that could help transform these workers lives? NOW tells the remarkable David vs. Goliath story of a group of Florida tomato pickers that went toe to toe with a corporate giant and won. Overcoming a climate of fear and violence, these workers fought an incredible four-year battle against Taco Bell and its parent company, Yum! Brands, to improve their working conditions and wages. Their success may have sparked a movement that could have important consequences for the nation."
You can order a free DVD copy of this excellent piece on the fight for farmworker justice by contacting us today! This DVD is a great tool for analyzing the historic victory and preparing for the next steps! Also, be sure to visit NOW's website for an in-depth exploration of the boycott by clicking .
As if that wasn't enought, on June 16 and 17 the CIW was featured on NPR's nationally broadcast "All Things Considered." If you missed either part of this two-part series, you can still hear the piece and see background documents through NPR's website by clicking here and here for day 2.
To round out our summer media trifecta, you don't want to miss the barrage of newspaper coverage on the victory and CIW's next steps. The excitement even made it's way to the Sunday New York Times (5/22)! Read the entire article: "First They Took on Taco Bell. Now, the Fast-Food World." Here's an excerpt:
"They led a four-year boycott against the chain until it agreed in March to pay a penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes and to adopt a code of conduct that would allow Taco Bell to sever ties to suppliers who commit abuses against farmworkers. With that triumph, the farmworkers group is turning to a larger target: the rest of the fast-food industry. The coalition has sent lettersto executives at McDonald's, Subway and Burger King asking them to follow Taco Bell's lead."
The story went out on the AP Wire and was carried by major media from MSNBC to The Detroit News, spurring a couple of excellent opinion pieces that build on the AP article. From the business pages of the Motley Fool, see "The Price of Peace" here; and from the San AntonioExpress-News, "Taco Bell Serves Up Social Vigilance" here. And finally, there's an excellent article which appeared in the Orlando Sentinel entitled, "Group Champions Migrants". Read the full report and see photos of the CIW's own watermelon harvesting crew by clicking here.
NEW OP-ED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES BY THE MAN WHO WROTE THE BOOK ON THE FAST-FOOD INDUSTRY!...
Check out the great Op/Ed by "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser in the New York Times! The piece strikes a very hopeful tone and ends on an intriguing note, concluding:
"McDonald's seems an obvious target for the next boycott... The failure of government to protect the weakest and most impoverished workers in the United States has left the job to corporations and consumers. Taco Bell deserves credit for acknowledging its responsibility on this issue. Now McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Yum's other brands need to do the same."Click here to read the whole article!
Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks on the
next steps in the campaign to make fast food
into fair food!FARMWORKERS
CELEBRATE DECISIVE VICTORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS!... FORMER
PRESIDENT CARTER COMMENDS CIW'S "PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP
IN THIS VERY IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN..."
See all the statements of support for this historic agreement below!
four-year Taco Bell boycott is over! Click
here for details on the precedent-setting accord.
Click here for photos and reports from Saturday's day-long Victory Celebration & Rally (3/12).
And don't miss the complete mulitmedia reports from the Truth Tour that turned out the lights on the Taco Bell boycott, including the boycott-ending press conference at Yum Brands (3/8) and the "Our World, Our Rights" Conference on Global Justice (3/11)! Click here for photos, video, audio, and more!
Boycott supporters are already gearing up for the next step in the campaign to make fast food fair food! Stay tuned for information on how you can play a role in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here's the victory press round-up and some kind words from a few names you might recognize.
The Guardian of London (3/12): "Farmworkers win historic deal after boycotting Taco Bell"
La Jornada (3/17): "Jornaleros ganan batalla a Taco Bell"
The Nation (3/11): "Sweet victory: Yo quiero justice"
Palm Beach Post (3/9):
Democracy Now! (3/10):
Palm Beach Post (3/9): "The pickers finally win"
Louisville Courier- Journal (3/13): "Farmworkers celebrate accord"
Common Dreams (3/18): "They Say Tomato, Students Say Justice"
Mother Jones (3/22): "People Power: An Interview with David Solnit"
Notre Dame Observer (3/23): "Celebrating Taco Bell boycott victory"
Louisville Courier-Journal (3/13): "Chuch, student groups aided workers' campaign"
Louisville Courier-Journal (3/9): "Yum picks up Florida field workers"
PR Week (3/9): "Labor group ends Taco Bell boycott"
OC Weekly (3/18): "Now we have faith"
Business Wire (3/8): "CIW, Taco Bell reach groundbreaking agreement"
Tallahassee Democrat (3/9):
Daily Texan (3/9): "Taco Bell boycott finally over"
Daily Bruin (3/9): "Taco Bell accord reached"
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: "I commend the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for their principled leadership in this very important campaign..." >> Read the full statement
Lucas Benitez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers: "Human rights are universal, and if we as farmworkers are to one day indeed enjoy equal rights, the same rights all other workers in this country are guaranteed, this agreement must only be a beginning..." >> Read the full statement
Tom Morello, Audioslave, formerly of Rage Against the Machine: "This is a major victory for the workers and demonstrates that by standing up and standing together, we can overturn any injustice. By standing up and standing together, we can change the world..." >> Read the full statement
Congressman John Lewis (D-GA): "This is a great victory for the champions of social justice and equality in America and around the world..." >> Read the full statement
Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), former presidental candidate: "So today we celebrate a tremendous victory of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the many farm workers who organized a very effective boycott of Taco Bell to draw attention to their plight. And it is an important start..." >> Read the full statement
Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): "I call upon all members... to immediately cease boycotting Taco Bell and to join with the CIW and Yum Brands in advancing the gains for human rights made today throughout fast-food industry..." >> Read the full statement
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Chairman of U.S. Bishops' Domestic Policy Committee: "This is a great achievement for the Immokalee Workers who have turned their struggle for decent wages and human dignity into a national movement enlisting religious groups and colleges and universities across the country..." >> Read the full statement
Todd Howland, Director, RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights: "Taco Bell has shown that companies can and should reach for a standard higher than their bottom line—that major corporations can be part of the solution to human right abuses instead of merely profiting off of the poverty of others..." >> Read the full statement
Cathy Albisa, Executive Director, National Social and Economic Rights Initiative: "It is a serious victory, but we must also be cognizant that it is but a stepping-stone in the longer journey to creating human rights protections for all workers..." >> Read the full statement
Gay McDougall, Executive Director, Global Rights: Partners for Justice: "This agreement proves the collective power of community members claiming their human rights and demanding accountability from those who have the duty to meet those rights..." >> Read the full statement
Camilo Perez-Bustillo, Director of Human Migration & Mobility / Project Voice, American Friends Service Committee: "The successful settlement of the Taco Bell boycott is a key, long-awaited step in the right direction for Florida and for the country as a whole, and will help set the pace elsewhere for farmworker justice in the future..." >> Read the full statement