Coalition of Immokalee Workers 2005 Taco Bell Truth Tour

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Victory Celebration & Rally for Farmworker Justice

"Our World, Our Rights" Conference on Global Justice

Day 9: Press Conference @ Yum Brands

Day 7: Louisville, KY

Day 6: Arrival in Louisville

Day 5: Ohio & Chicago

Day 4: Ohio & Indiana

Day 3: Cincinnati & Memphis/St. Louis

Day 2: Atlanta/Nashville & Montgomery/Memphis

Day 1: Departure from Immokalee & Tallahassee



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Press Conference @ Yum Brands - Louisville, KY

Photos © Jacques-Jean Tiziou /


Day Nine of the 2005 Truth Tour began like any other. However, there was actually nothing ordinary about this day for the farmworkers who travelled all the way from Southwest Florida to draw attention to the sweatshop conditions they endure in the fields.

March 9, 2005 is a day that will live on in history as a day David defeated Goliath. On this day, the Taco Bell boycott ended, resulting in a decisive and unprecedented victory for Florida's farmworkers and marking the culmination of over 12 years of grassroots organizing in the community of Immokalee against some of the worst working and living conditions anywhere in the U.S.!

Above, farmworkers poured off their tour buses and into Yum Brands global headquarters for the press conference announcing the historic victory.

Lucas Benitez spoke at the press conference, explaining the significance of the agreement between Taco Bell and CIW

The room was full of local and national press documenting the unfolding drama.

And, of course, the room was full of workers from a forgotten corner in Florida, workers who have struggled for over a decade to secure their dignity and most basic human rights.

The CIW members were also joined on the dias by representatives of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for their help in convening the negotiations between the CIW and Yum Brands, including Clifton Kirkpatrick, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and the Rev. Noelle Damico, coordinator of the boycott for the PCUSA.

Jonathan Blum (left) of Yum Brands and Lucas Benitez of the CIW shake hands, formally ending the 4-year long boycott campaign against Taco Bell.

After the press conference, the mood was one of quiet celebration as the implications of the day's events gradually began to sink in.

The first to share the announcement of the victory with the workers were panelists on the Kentucky Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board. The board, made up of labor and community leaders from Louisville, had convened to hear testimony about farmworker wages and working conditions. The board listened to workers stories and experiences, and then challenged other fast food industries to also take responsibility for human rights in their supply chains. There couldn't have been a more apropos way to conclude this historic day's events...

...Except maybe with a party. Upon arrival at Urban Spirit, the CIW's temporary headquarters in Louisville, KY, late in the evening, the meaning of the day's events finally hit home and tour members began a fiesta that lasted into the wee hours of the night.

Above, CIW members raise a toast to the compañeros who were lost along the way and were unable to celebrate the watershed victory. Although they were not present in Louisville physically, their presence was felt throughout the evening.

The night concluded with a dance party in which everyone cut loose, farmworkers and allies alike.

In this picture, Roland Sales of the CIW steals the spotlight with some fancy footwork.

The party went on, just like the boycott had gone on -- tirelessly with farmworkers, students, communities and people of faith together building true alliances in a rumba towards victory.

Click here for more photos from Day Nine!

Click here for photos and reports from the "Our World, Our Rights" Conference on Global Justice!