FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2006
Lucas Benitez, 239-503-0133
Julia Perkins, 239-986-0891
Melody Gonzalez, 239-986-0847
COALITION OF IMMOKALEE WORKERS CALL ON MCDONALD'S AND CHIPOTLE TO GUARANTEE "WORK WITH DIGNITY" FOR FARMWORKERS IN ITS SUPPLY CHAIN
Chicago, IL – On Saturday, April 1, farmworkers and allies participating in the 2006 McDonald’s Truth Tour will converge on Chicago, leading a 5-mile march through the city. The march will culminate in a rally downtown at the McDonald’s flagship restaurant commonly known as the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” McDonald’s. The CIW will be joined in the march by Bishop Manz, AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff, and many national and local community, student, human rights and faith leaders.
At the rally following the march, the CIW will announce the next steps in the campaign to win human rights and a fair wage for farmworkers in Florida’s fields. Workers will launch an aggressive public education campaign, exposing the grinding poverty of Florida’s farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the world’s largest fast-food chain, McDonald’s, and Chipotle, the quick service Mexican food restaurant company that is also part of the McDonald’s group.
April 1st is the five-year anniversary of the declaration of the Taco Bell boycott, which marked the initial launch of the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food. In March of 2005 the CIW and Yum Brands, parent company of Taco Bell, resolved the 4-year boycott with a ground-breaking agreement. The historic agreement commits Yum Brands to pay farmworkers an extra penny per pound for tomatoes Taco Bell purchases, to work with the CIW on its code of conduct so that farmworker participation in the protection of their own rights is ensured and to guarantee transparency in its tomato supply chain.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, was, until recently a
wholly owned subsidiary of the McDonald’s
corporation. Following a public offering of the
company in January 2006, McDonald’s
now owns a controlling interest in Chipotle.
Unlike McDonalds, however, Chipote recognizes that its volume purchasing of vegetables and meat place it in a unique position to influence the conditions under which its ingredients are produced and raised. The company’s manifesto, entitled “Food With Integrity,” discusses its mission to “revolutionize the way America grows and gathers its food” by “working back along the food chain” beyond distributors to encourage healthy production of vegetables and humane raising of animals by farmers supplying Chipotle. But it says nothing about the conditions under which farmworkers labor to harvest Chipotle’s produce.
The CIW will be calling on Chipotle to expand its own “Food With Integrity” mission to include “Work With Dignity” for farmworkers who harvest its tomatoes by partnering with the CIW to ensure improved wages and the participation of farmworkers in the protection and advancement of their own rights. Further, CIW is calling on Chipotle to influence the fast-food giant McDonald’s to join Yum! Brands in working with the CIW for these important human rights advances in the agri-food industry.
The 45 farmworkers from Immokalee on the 2006 Truth Tour bring with them over 3,500 cards signed by Florida farmworkers asking McDonald’s, Chipotle, and the rest of the fast food industry to pay more for their tomatoes, and to ensure that this premium be passed on to the farmworkers picking those tomatoes, and to ensure worker participation in reforming the labor practices of the agricultural industry.
The march, rally, and announcement of the Chipotle initiative mark the culmination of the 2006 McDonald’s Truth Tour: the Real Rights Tour. Before arriving in Chicago the caravan stopped in 16 cities, conducted over 12 protests at McDonald’s and Chipotle Restaurants, and educational events in cities through the south and Midwest including Nashville, Louisville, St Louis, Madison, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, and South Bend.
Where & When: March from Pilsen (Intersection of Blue Island, Loomis, and 18th St) to the R‘n’R McDonald’s (600 N Clark. St, Chicago). The March steps off at 10:30am and will arrive at the Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s at 1:00pm. The march will then travel to Holy Name Cathedral (735 N State Street) for a closing rally and truth tour celebration.
background on workers’ wages, conditions,
the McDonald’s Truth Tour and the CIW-Yum!
Brands agreement, visit www.ciw-online.org