February 15, 2007

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REPORT FROM CIW PRESS CONFERENCE
AT BURGER KING HEADQUARTERS


The CIW held a press conference outside Burger King’s corporate headquarters in Miami, responding to the fast-food giant’s announcement earlier this week that it would not implement the principles of the Taco Bell agreement in its supply chain…

… with a great turnout, from both Immokalee and Miami.

The crowd gathered at the conference spoke through dozens of signs, including this one that read, “How hard could it be for the King to pay one penny more?”…

… and this one, which needs no explanation.

While over a dozen speakers made their voices heard, loud and clear, for the Burger King executives responsible for the decision to reject the fair farm labor standards established in the Taco Bell agreement. Here, Rev. Noelle Damico of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) led the crowd in chanting, “It’s time for the King to do the right thing!”…

… while Yvonne Strattford of LIFFT (Low Income Families Fighting Together) and Sushma Sheth of the Miami Workers Center (speaking) did a little crowd rousing of their own with their heartfelt speeches.

In fact, the executives responsible for the decision to reject those standards were so moved that they made their way down to the street and joined us outside, setting up their own impromptu, rival press conference (not the sign of a corporation particularly at ease with its postion, actually, but be that as it may)…

… though, by the looks of things, it seems that the idea didn’t work out all that well for them… Of course, we can only guess as to what went on, as workers from Immokalee were prevented from asking the executives any questions by Burger King’s security personnel.

The press conference ended with a moving prayer by Father Roger Holoubek of St. Maurice Catholic Parish…


… and a final message for the people of Miami as the CIW contingent marched back to its vehicles and headed back to the fields… where the King’s tomatoes are picked… just an hour and a half away…


And to finish our report, we present some of the faces of the long-time allies (with a tip of the hat to miami.indymedia.org for the pics!…) who have pledged to stand with the CIW in Miami to hold Burger King accountable for the conditions in those fields… Here are Fr. Holoubek (St. Maurice), Rev. Damico (Presbyterian Church USA), Fr. Corbishly of the Episcopal Church Center of the University of Miami…

… and friends from LIFFT and the Miami Workers Center…

… activists from South Florida Jobs with Justice…

… and some of the very fine folks from the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP), whose critique of the McDonald’s wage study exposed that little exercise in public relations for what it was…

… also from Florida International University, activists from United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)…

… and last but not least, our friends from Power U!