Events are moving quickly as the CIW’s call for fast-food giant McDonald’s to address wages and working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields enters its third day (see urgent Action Alert below).

Already McDonald’s has made the first move, attempting to side-step the CIW’s call for substantive change and instead throwing its lot in with a hastily cobbled-together grower-controlled initiative (which goes by the acronym “SAFE”) that re-defines the term “woefully inadequate.” In response, several of the national human rights, religious, and student organizations that were key participants in the successful Taco Bell boycott have renewed their support for the CIW’s campaign and issued strong statements critical of McDonald’s disappointing response. Here below are three such statements:

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights

“It is therefore with enormous disappointment that the RFK Center for Human Rights learns of McDonald’s decision to partner with Socially Accountable Farm Employers (SAFE) and to base their expectations for wages and working conditions in their agricultural supply chain on SAFE’s weak code of conduct… This is a lost opportunity for one of the world’s largest and most well-known restaurant companies.READ MORE

Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

“... McDonald’s reputation for social responsibility will be undermined if it continues to pursue the Socially Accountable Farm Employers (SAFE) program as if it alone were an adequate solution to the grievous conditions and sub-poverty wages of farmworkers. It is time for McDonald’s to work with the CIW to directly increase workers wages and to put an end to human rights violations in the fields.” READ MORE

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

“… While constructive engagement with growers is an essential component to addressing human rights abuses in the agricultural sector, its current approach is a poor substitute for working with farmworkers themselves. This is reflected in the current code which does nothing more than require growers not to steal wages, rather than pay decent wages, and not to allow slavery, rather than requiring protection of freedom for farmworkers to associate and defend their own human rights… McDonald’s must partner with those affected by abuses in order to end them, in particular the farmworkers with the (CIW) which has put these issues on the table.READ MORE