Demands fast-food giant work with CIW toward “real rights for farmworkers in Florida’s tomato fields”

July 20, 2006 Mr. James Skinner, CEO McDonald’s Corporation 2111 McDonald’s Drive Oak Brook, IL 60523 Dear Mr. Skinner: The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) today raises its prophetic, mighty voice in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food.  As a powerful human rights organization comprised of over 1,000 churches, and thousands of workers, women, and people of color across the country, RPC calls on McDonald’s to uphold the American Dream and work with the CIW to address the injustices and abuses that persist in the United States agricultural industry, and reward the hard work of farmworkers who labor in its supply chain. In the United States, we like to think that hard work in any arena—whether it be farm work, business, or motherhood—will be rewarded and will take us to the top. Sadly, it is still not the case for many today.  Despite the hard work of farmworkers, America’s agricultural fields are still marred by sub-poverty wages, denial of basic rights, and in the worst of cases modern-day slavery. It will be a great day when no farmworker, no human being anywhere feels the sting of exploitation, the sting of poverty, and the sting of slavery.  As we look forward to that day, we are pleased and proud that the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is leading the way.   The CIW has already demonstrated its leadership role by establishing an unprecedented agreement with Taco Bell and its parent company Yum Brands, the largest fast-food company in the world.  As a result of this agreement, now farmworkers in Taco Bell’s supply chain receive a penny more per pound of tomatoes they pick, a pay increase that nearly doubles their wages and comes directly from Taco Bell. The agreement also establishes the first-ever enforceable, worker-monitored Code of Conduct for Taco Bell’s tomato suppliers.  McDonald’s has a solid, proven model to follow, and we urge them today to do so. As our founder and President, Rev. Jesse Jackson proclaimed, “The American Dream is one big tent of many cultures, races and religions. Under that tent, everybody is assured equal protection under the law, equal opportunity, equal access and a fair share. Our struggle demands that we open closed doors, extend the tent and even the playing field.” The RPC hopes that McDonald’s will uphold the demands of the American Dream—“opening the door” which to this point it has closed and “extending the tent” by working together with the CIW to end sub-poverty wages and establish real rights for farmworkers in Florida’s tomato fields. Sincerely, Reverend Charles McKenzie Rainbow/Push Coalition; Florida State Representative