Coalition of Immokalee Workers

McDonald's Truth Tour 2006:
The Real Rights Tour!



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With corporate advance teams meeting us at every stop on the Tour thus far, we have grown accustomed to McDonald's being a step ahead of us on the 2006 Real Rights Tour, but this -- this was just a bit over the top... [Nah, McDonald's didn't really alter one of this country's most recognizable landmarks to greet the Truth Tour as we reached St. Louis, that's just a little photoshop magic... ]

In the real world... Day Three saw the division of the Truth Tour into three legs -- East, West, and Central -- where we will cover 11 cities in three days on the way to converging again in Chicago. On Tuesday, the West leg crew crossed the Mississippi and along the way passed the famous "Gateway to the West," the (single) arch on the Missouri side of the river.

Missourians are known for their straight talk, and our visit to the state did nothing to diminish the reputation. While the signs of Louisville may have won the award for artistic execution, the signs of St. Louis gave them a run for their money in the categories of strength and sincerity -- a black marker, a piece of poster board, and a simple, straightforward message was all it took for this ally to make her feelings clear.

And did we have allies in St. Louis! After a short presentation at St. Louis University, the West Leg crew hit the streets for a march to a nearby McDonald's, joined by dozens of local allies, including Kaveh Rezani (middle), with Jobs with Justice and the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP). SLAP's Student Labor Week of Action coincided with the Truth Tour week, and the action today in St. Louis was a great example of the power of the union between students and workers for economic justice.

The crowd outside the McDonald's continued to grow throughout the picket, until there were nearly 70 consumers and workers gathered, filling the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and reaching the minds of thousands of lunch-hour commuters on the busy street.

The march and protest reached tens of thousands more consumers through some great media coverage, including at least two local television stations...

... and four different radio statations.

And speaking of allies, our visit to St. Louis wouldn't have been half the success it was if it weren't for our old friends at the National Farm Worker Ministry. NFWM did an incredible job of mobilizing people on short notice, and made the West leg crew feel right at home on the other side of the Mississippi.

Our religious allies were out in force, including four determined sisters from the Sisters of St. Joseph.

More scenes from a great action: Another fine sign with a message that truly says it all in five simple words, followed by a pretty concise companion message from someone who in fact does feed the world...

... Student/Labor exchange during the Student/Labor Week of Action. It's moments like these, grabbed when possible on the picket line, that build understanding and solidarity that can fuel alliances for the long haul...

... And a "Wanted" poster that is definitely getting around these days.

MORE PICS!: Click here for the East Leg report!
Click here to see the Central Leg report!

We wrapped up the day in St. Louis with a final presentation, looking at the connection between the sweatshop conditions that are typical of all farmwork today and the extreme of those conditions -- modern-day slavery -- that continues to plague Florida's fields, including the tomato fields of Immokalee.

Next stop for the West Leg crew: Madison, WI!