Dear David Novak,
I am the Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries at the United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestand denomination with 1.3 million members. The UCC’s General Synod endorsed the boycott of Taco Bell in 2001 and many of our congregations have been very active supporters of the boycott and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers ever since.
I am glad to gear of your May 20th offer to work toward an industry wide sucharge of one penny per pound to be paid by all buyers of Florida tomatoes and to lobby the Florida legislature for better working conditions for farm workers. It is gratifying to see Yum acceptinf its responsibility to bring justice to the Florida tomato fields.
But if the press reports are true, you propose to initiate these efforts only after the Coalition of Immokalee Workers ends the boycott fo Taco Bell.
Consequently, the CIW has rejected Yum’s proposal. And rightly so, I believe — workers can’t eat promises.
The UCC will also continue to boycott. Our General Synod Resolutoin called on the church to boycott Taco Bell until “substantive action to improve the wages and working conditions of the farm workers who pick the tomatoes that go into Taco Bell’s products” occurs. Proposals are not sufficient.
I urge you to negotiate in good faith with the CIW and to use your power and influence with the tomato growers to help put in place a three-way agreement with Taco Bell, the growers, and the CIW to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers.
I look forward to the day when such a contract will be signed. I will be one of the first in line to once again enjoy some good food in my local Taco Bell restaurant.
Bernice Powell Jackson