Coalition of Immokalee Workers

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



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McDonald's Global Headquarters, Oak Brook, IL

Photos by JJ Tiziou

After crossing half the country and visiting 16 cities in just 5 days, CIW members reached McDonald's Global Headquarters carrying with them the voice of more than 3,500 Immokalee workers calling for fair wages and human rights in the fields of Florida, the very foundation of the fast-food industry.

But first, after spending the past three days in a state of trifurcation... the Truth Tour crew reunited, beginning the day with an early morning reflection on experiences from the road and planning the actions for the crucial days ahead in Chicago.

From the meeting, it was directly into the ever-growing caravan for a full day of action in the streets of Oak Brook.

The ultimate destination: McDonald's Global Headquarters, Oak Brook, Illinois, which from the early morning on was locked down with security guards and barricades awaiting our arrival later in the day. [Ominous foreshadowing: Check out the sky because it's the last time it's going to look that way...]

Before reaching the corporate headquarters, however, the Truth Tour team broke up once again for three quick lunchtime protests at McDonald's restaurants in and around Oak Brook.

The energy at the early afternoon protests was high...

... but by the end of the noon protests, the sky was already showing signs of the storm to come.

Finally, the time had come for the first direct action at McDonald's headquarters by the farmworkers who fuel the profits of the fast-food giant.

For a moment, at least, the weather held and it was smiles all around as the Truth Tour crew -- after a week of education and protests in 10 states, from Florida to Wisconsin -- reached the headquarters.

The workers from Immokalee were joined by veterans of the movement who stood strong against the increasingly bitter wind that blew in as the demonstration began in earnest.

The action began with a prayer vigil where national and local religious leaders called on McDonald's to respect the voice of workers represented in each of the 3,500 signed cards. The cards demanded a fair wage and respect for human rights in the fast-food industry's tomato supply chain.

The prayer vigil was led by members of CIW and national and local religious leaders from the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Interfaith Worker Justice, the Episcopal Church, and National Farm Worker Ministry. And across the country, people of faith were praying for McDonald's to would work with the CIW to advance real rights for farmworkers in its supply chain. Click here to read more about the national Day of Prayer.

But neither high winds nor near-freezing rain would keep a determined CIW delegation --accompanied by religious, student and human rights allies -- from delivering those cards to a team of McDonald's representatives awaiting them inside the lobby of the warm, dry offices of the restaurant colossus.

While the delegation went inside, the picket continued to carry the message to people of Oak Brook.

... and the weather continued to worsen...

... and worsen. Despite the gale force winds that ripped signs from the hands of more than one protester, the farmworkers from Immokalee and their allies stood tall in the fight for another hour.

Finally, after nearly two hours in the bitter cold and driving rain...

...we wrapped up our day, left the Golden Arches headquarters behind, and headed into Chi-town proper for final preprations for the 5-mile march and rally in downtown Chicago.

But not before letting McDonald's know, one more time, that while the wind may break our signs, it will not break our spirits, and this battle will endure until real rights prevail in the fields of Florida.