Coalition of Immokalee Workers

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



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The West Leg crew continued on its way to Chicago Thursday, stopping in the city of Brewers (industrial and baseball alike) -- Milwaukee. And the first stop was at the Milwaukee Technical College, a school that played a key role in the Taco Bell boycott as one of the 22 successful Boot the Bell campaigns. There's no McDonald's on campus, but the spirit to fight side by side with farmworkers certainly remains strong...

We were invited to speak to a Labor Economics class (a subject near and dear to our hearts...), where we discussed the "distortions" in the food market that make life so harsh for farmworkers -- the consolidation of market power at the top and the bottom of the market in the hands of a small number of huge corporations, companies like Monsanto and John Deere on the one end, and WalMart, Yum Brands, and McDonald's on the other. The power of these large corporations creates a growing cost/price squeeze on farm producers, a squeeze that is inevitably passed on to farmworkers in the form of sub-poverty wages and sweatshop conditions.

The professor, Mr. Cal Tamanji, was a tremendously charismatic man who refused to separate academic studies from the daily struggle for social and economic justice. He challenged his students to think critically about the world around them, and compared the fast-food industry to a glittering, towering skyscraper that looks beautiful but is totally dependent on its foundation to remain upright -- adding, "these workers are the foundation of the fast-food industry."

And once again, the West Leg crew moved from the classroom to the street, joining local Milwaukee allies for a lunchtime march and picket at a downtown McDonald's.


The march got a warm reception from the people of Milwaukee...

... with a symphony of horns honking in support in a show of solidarity as strong as any of the stops yet.

And following the example of the industrious East Leg crew, the West Leggers organized their own Human Rights Delegation with representatives from the Milwaukee youth community (and the Milwaukee really young community...) to deliver the manager's letter to restaurant representatives inside...

... and inside they went...

... where they were not quite as warmly received as they were in the streets of Milwaukee, but, still, were promised that the letter would be forwarded to corporate headquarters.

Finally, before leaving Milwaukee, we want to give a big tip of the hat to our allies at Milwaukee's only 100% fair trade coffee shop, Brewing Grounds for Change coffee shop. By being an employee-owned and -operated business, AND a 100% fair trade coffeeshop they are building change both locally and in the communities where their coffee is grown. Their vision is our vision, and we know that the time we spent together today will not be the last time we come together in our work to realize that vision.

And finally, Chicago! Upon the West Leg crew's arrival in the city, we met with students at Loyola University, many of whom are preparing to join the Truth Tour for the Saturday, Aprill 1st march and rally in downtown Chicago.

And we close with your moment of zen...

Next up: Three days in Chicago!