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.