Mr. Jim Skinner, CEO
McDonald’s Corporation
McDonald’s Plaza
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Dear Mr. Skinner:

As members of the socially responsible investment community, we are writing to urge McDonald’s to work in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve stagnant poverty wages and other human rights in your company’s tomato supply chain.

We believe such a partnership would be to McDonald’s benefit, enhancing its reputation for social responsibility and assuring shareholders and customers alike that its tomatoes are being harvested fairly.  Many of our organizations have worked collaboratively with McDonald’s in the past to address issues such as environmental sustainability.  We appreciate the leadership that McDonald’s has exercised in the past which has made significant change possible. 

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an internationally respected, worker-led, community-based farmworker organization that has won numerous human rights awards and has been at the forefront of exposing and prosecuting slavery in the fields.  The CIW’s innovative work with Yum! Brands corporation has illustrated that significant change in the fields can only come when retail food corporations are committed to requiring and rewarding their suppliers for raising wages and for according fundamental labor rights to their workers.  We would look favorably upon a similar partnership between McDonald’s and CIW.

In late April the Center for Reflection and Action released the first report in its study of McDonald’s tomato supply chain, “Economic Impact: Tomatoes in Florida.”  We were dismayed by this report and concur with the critiques leveled by labor, social-science and human rights experts.  But we have a further concern with this study.

In the section entitled “Project History,” the author explains that, following the successful conclusion of the Taco Bell boycott and the agreement between Yum! Brands and the CIW that CREA independently reached out to McDonald’s about how the company might act proactively to address similar problems.  However, this “proactive approach” did not involve working directly with the farmworkers who are most immediately affected by this exploitation and who are primary stakeholders in any solution.

As NGOs who are both shareholders and consumers, we believe that the CIW farmworkers can and must represent their own interests in direct dialogue with McDonald’s.  To claim, as the report concludes that “the commitment is to the workers” while fundamentally excluding CIW from the effort to identify and address human rights abuses in the fields, respects neither the farmworkers’ full humanity nor the CIW’s recognized achievements in the area of human rights.  Moreover, this approach does a disservice to McDonald’s own reputation as a leader in corporate responsibility.

It is our sincere hope that McDonald’s will move swiftly to build a partnership with the CIW so that shareholders and consumers may be assured that abuses in the field are being dealt with effectively and respectfully.  Because of McDonald’s history of being on the forefront of humane treatment for animals and recycling, we are confident that with concerted leadership from key executives within McDonald’s, such a partnership can not only be established but produce an innovative and lasting model for ensuring human rights in the agri-food industry.

We would appreciate your response to our concerns and will be glad to circulate your response to the co-signers of this letter.


Carol G. Hylkema, Chairperson
Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Signed by:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 

United Church Foundation

Pension Boards-United Church of Christ

Shareholder, Education and Advocacy, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Adorers of the Blood of Christ Investment Group

Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi

Linda Hayes, OP, Director Corporate Social Responsibility, Dominican Sisters of Springfield


Cc:      Board of Directors

            Bob Langert, Director of Social Responsibility