Chipotle International Day of Action a huge success!

Chipotle National International
Day of Action a huge success!

A Fair Food Activist with the Workers Defense Project flyers outside a Chipotle restaurant in Austin, Texas. Actions are being held in over two dozen cities, including Chipotle’s newest front for expansion, London, England.

The action has started in dozens of cities in what has become an International Day of Action to demand that Chipotle — the self-styled “Food with Integrity” leader — live up to its claims of sustainability, recognize farmworkers as partners in its success, and join the CIW’s Fair Food Program.

Photos and reports are streaming into CIW headquarters, so check back soon for a complete report and media round-up from the growing campaign calling on Chipotle to sign a Fair Food Agreement today. In the meantime, we leave you with an excerpt from an excellent article on the Huffington Post now, by Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, entitled, “Integrity and Justice: Tell Chipotle to Go Deeper than Just a Slogan”. Enjoy!:

“… There is a solution: an amazing, worker-led organization in Florida called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is bringing transformation and justice to the tomato fields. Their Fair Food Program is grounded in human rights and dignity for farmworkers. Under the Program, retailers commit to paying an extra “penny a pound” premium for tomatoes directly to the farmworkers (raising their wages without raising costs for farmers) and to only buying from farmers that have instituted a strict human rights code of conduct in the fields. (You can read more about the CIW’s work herehere and here).

But Chipotle is not part of this transformation. Over the years, the company has steadfastly resisted joining together with the CIW, even going so far as to insist that signing a Fair Food Agreement would have no impact on the lives of workers. But in the growing season that just ended, there was real change in the lives of workers, which I learned about first hand when I visited Immokalee in February. Guaranteed an hourly rate, they did not have to leave for the fields many hours before their children woke up. Educated about their rights, they knew where to turn when they faced violence or sexual harassment. The Fair Food Program was making a difference.

Chipotle’s refusal to sign a Fair Food Agreement is especially frustrating because the CIW’s Fair Food Program shows us that there is a better way to do business with true integrity. Ten major food retailers (including grocery stores Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and fast food restaurants like Burger King and Subway) have signed these agreements.

Chipotle, meanwhile, wants to have their cake and eat it to. They want to go at it alone — promising to pay the extra wage to workers and only buy from the right growers — without the transparency and accountability that would come from signing a Fair Food Agreement and agreeing to on-the-ground, third party monitoring. As a human rights activist, this is deeply troubling, because best practice for industry on human rights is a system of independent, outside monitoring of a supply chain. A constant on-the-ground enforcement mechanism is needed, as is the commitment to partner with empowered workers who know their rights and report violations.

Chipotle’s slogan has little value if there is no justice for farmworkers. As the CIW has said, “Food with Integrity” is either a holistic vision that respects the men and women who harvest tomatoes for Chipotle’s restaurants, or it’s just another marketing ploy designed to cash in on a fad. It cannot be both.” Chipotle, too, must pursue justice.” read more

Come back soon for pictures, press, and first-hand reports from all the actions!