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Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Coalition of
Immokalee Workers

The CIW is spear- heading the Taco Bell boycott. To learn more about the history of the Coalition, go to the
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Days of Action...

From November 29 to December 1, in more than 40 cities across the country, people gathered in protest at Taco Bell restaurants to express their solidarity with the farmworkers who pick the tomatoes that go into Taco Bell's products. With one voice -- from Florida to Texas, Colorado to California, Tennessee to Wisconsin -- the yell went up:

"Boooyyycott Taco Bell!!!"

In many cities, protesters were so fired up by their actions they plan to continue picketing every week until Taco Bell agrees to meet with the CIW and stop profiting from farmworker poverty.

Below are some of the stories and photos of the protests as they come in from around the country -- including the CIW's own "Twenty Four Hours of Taco Bell", a round-the-clock, round-robin action in which farmworkers from Immokalee started out at 7:00 am on Saturday, Dec. 1, joined allies at protests in three different Florida cities, wrapped up the last protest at 3 am Sunday morning in Gainesville, and got home to Immokalee by 8:00 am -- ready for the next action!

Click on the links below to see the reports from the different cities:

Action at UT Austin: Daily Texan

Action in Pasadena: Pasadena Star News

Action in East LA: report Action in Michigan: report
Action in Milwaukee: report Action in Boulder: report Action in Philadelphia: report Tampa/St.Pete: report
Action in Evanston, IL: report Action in St. Louis, MO: report Action in Atlanta: report Action in Norman, OK: report

Scroll down to see photo reports from across the country:

LATEST PHOTOS -- from Pasadena, California

In a multi-faceted action, LA boycott committee members hit a Pasadena Taco Bell during the Three Days of Action... picketing, flyering, and handing out free home-made tacos to potential TB customers, reminding them of what REAL food tastes like...

... If only Taco Bell had such satisfied customers...

... the young and old make common cause around the simple economic justice of the farmworkers' fight...

... while the more competitively inclined of the protesters engaged in the time honored tradition of tomato-based sports...

... nice!... that's gonna' leave a mark...

... Ah, the stuff of Taco Bell PR nightmares...

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7:00 am, 12/1, Immokalee: The CIW contingent starts off the day full of energy, and a little harmonica music...

11:00 am, 12/1, St. Petersburg: The CIW joins friends in St. Pete who had already begun an all-day protest at this heavily trafficked intersection. Lady Liberty (far left) makes her debut, standing vigil over the intersection...

... and a fierce vigil it was...

... a bit too fierce, perhaps, as the local police decided they'd do a little standing vigil of their own -- too much liberty, you know, is apparently a bad thing in St. Pete...

7:00 pm, Tampa: Soon it was time to move on to Tampa, where we joined local students and activists at a lively picket in front of a Taco Bell near the campus of the University of South Florida...

...lively... and polite.

The restaurant's set up was perfect for flyering, and countless customers turned away after learning of the exploitation that goes into every taco. In fact, more than a few continued through the drive-thru, just to let the manager know that they WERE going to eat there, but changed their plans and won't return until Taco Bell meets with the CIW...


1:00 am, Sunday, 12/2, Gainesville: Then it was on to our final stop -- this oft-hit Taco Bell in Gainsville, FL. A carnavalesque atmosphere, complete with fire dancers, stilt walkers, and free burritos filled the sidewalk with a protest the likes of which Taco Bell, and apparently the local police, hadn't seen before...

... rhythm, beaten out on tomato picking buckets, accompanied the fire-dancers...

... a lot of rhythm...

... and some good old fashioned free speech kept the protest rolling until nearly 3:00 am, when -- after a little difficulty with the local constabulary -- the action wrapped up and the CIW contingent headed home.

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Trouble for the Masked Crusader... Mall security (!) does their part to impede the free flow of ideas (and pizza) outside a Taco Bell in Philadelphia (pizza and a flyer for all those who would forgo their taco that day)...

... And soon the rest of the Justice League would likewise be rudely interrupted in their valiant efforts to help consumers stop and think about what -- and why -- they consume. Kick those heretics to the curb, Mr. Mall Officer!

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A couple of photos from one of several Chicago area protests (see the Loyola University pics, below)...

... Looks like only the most determined Bell-eaters are going to walk through this wall of truth to get inside that restaurant...

...And a big tip of the hat goes out to the Chicago Boycott Committee for their work on this little bit of graphic genius!! Thanks, Chicago, for your truly inspirational spirit and actions... (btw -- we're still waiting on those t-shirts!)

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The Irvine Boycott Commitee put together a protest in Santa Ana, just miles from Taco Bell's global headquarters in Irvine, that won't be soon forgotten. With more than 100 protesters, banners...

... and some smashing street art...

... that went right to the heart of the matter, the protesters let Taco Bell know that no longer can corporate profits come at the cost of poverty and misery for the thousands of men and women who work so hard in Florida's fields, and whose hard work is the foundation of the company's success...

... It doesn't get any clearer than that! For more on the Santa Ana protest, go to for a first-hand account of the action.

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Students from Loyola University got into the action in Chicago, despite the apparent cold!...

... with imaginative signs...

... and some friendly flyering...

... maybe a little too friendly, in fact! This guy looks like he got hungry on the picket line and is going over to the other side!... Not really, that's a flyer in his hand, and he's in the process of letting Taco Bell's own employees know the reasons for the protest and -- with any luck -- building solidarity between Taco Bell's restaurant workers and the farmworkers in the fields.

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Old Ft. Myers held its own in the national campaign, putting together this un-missable banner...

... and holding a marathon action that got tv and newspaper attention here in sleepy Southwest Florida!

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East LA report:

'"...Our second event was today at the t.b. across the street from elacc [East LA Comm. College] in east l.a./monterey park. There were 30 people protesting, including 5 teens who just joined in after passing by and becoming interested. The participants were students from pcc, cal state l.a., usc, and ucla, and were community members. This protest started out quietly, but built to a loud and energetic final hour and a half. We quit counting after the 10th car backed out of the drive through (props to john and isael). We talked to many passersby, and they took flyers as they asked questions. Several expressed an interest in following the boycott news on the website. One person was in the middle of ordering at the drive through when we gave them a flyer and began talking to them. They picked up their order, parked, and got out of the car to come over and ask for more details. It was cold, but no one seemed to mind. People at this protest expressed an interest in having more protests at this location, and some talked about setting up a regular protest across town in so. central by usc." ( back to the top)

MICHIGAN, Grand Valley State University report:

"Things got kicked off here at GV this past Saturday. We marched in our town's christmas parade (cardboard tomatoes, flyers, two killer banners, and a shopping cart with a santa in it!). It was most enjoyable. We are flyering the campus Tuesday, alternating being santa." (back to the top)


"The Milwaukee protest went great! Thirty people showed up.... Two tv stations showed up, local Fox 6 and channel twelve. It was very nice. I told Taco Bell we were coming ahead of time so they had counter flyers there ahead of time. We look forward to more days of action in the future." (back to the top)

BOULDER, CO report:

"I just wanted to let you guys know what went on here in Colorado. So we met Saturday between 11am-2pm and talked to people and handed out flyers. I talked to management who happens to be corporate district manager for that area. We talked and I told him what our plans were, and gave him an ultimatum (which he refused). We asked him to write a letter to headquarters in support of negotiations. Since he declined we intend to be there every Saturday till he agrees. We also will be there every Saturday night 12pm-2am talking to college kids. I think close to 50 cars turned away in total." (back to top).


"Though we started the Three Days of Action early, we thought you might like to know about what we did. The US Antiheroes decided to combine the celebration of Buy Nothing Day (Nov. 23) with Action against Taco Bell in solidarity with our friends... For our protest, we stood outside of the Taco Bell and passed out free pizza to anyone who would leave the line and boycott the Bell. Needless to say, the manager was on the phone quickly to mall security. Even though they made us leave, we were able to have some great conversations with people about the rotten policies of the Bell." (back to the top).


"In Tampa, representatives from various organizations including the Tampa Farmworker Support Committee, USF Campus Greens, Pax Christi and many dedicated individuals protested the Taco Bell at 56th and Fowler during the busiest time of the day: 4 to 8 in the evening.

From 7-8 a lively group from Immokalee joined them with noise-makers, creative signs and a colorful ten-foot tall puppet of the Statue of Liberty carrying a tomato on high.According to the many participants, people in Tampa were incredibly receptive to the message of the boycott. According to one participant, the demonstration gathered so much attention that they actually stopped traffic on Fowler a couple of times. In fact, several people who were driving by actually turned around to come back and find out what the boycott was about!

On the other side of the bay, in St. Pete, anywhere from 3 to 35 people congregated in front of a Taco Bell from 10:00 in the morning to 11:00 in the evening to speak with people about the boycott of Taco Bell. Accompanied by Paco, our seven-foot tall paper-mache companion who loyally stood vigil in front of the restaurant the entire day, protesters passed out nearly 1500 flyers to passing traffic and potential customers. Protesters also displayed a replica of the banner the Immokalee workers attempted to deliver to the CEO of Taco Bell a month earlier on the busy intersection of 34th St. and 5th Ave. N. for thousands of commuters to read: “End Sweatshops in the Fields: Boycott Taco Bell!”

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EVANSTON, IL report:

"Saturday's Taco Bell protest was pretty rocking. We had the usual signs and flyers, but for people who don't normally like demos, it was really heartening and fun. Our Evanston action was one of five in chi-town-area and one of 50 nationwide...

We delivered a letter with the tomato pickers' demands to the manager, who seemed very nice and even somewhat interested. The district manager pulled up an hour or so into the action and yelled at us for blocking the entrance. We negotiated, and continued our picket a few feet away from the door. He told us that the picket was sort of pointless since the store was a franchise and not corporate-owned, although he agreed that the best way to pressure a company is to hit them from all angles.

Eventually, we got cozy enough with each other to trade literature and he even wished us well when he left. All in all, it was a positive event, with good reactions from passersby and high spirits all around."

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ST. LOUIS, MO report:

"Here in Saint Louis we protested in the business sector. Many people were shocked and angered at Taco Bell, and took a postcard to help participate. We also were confronted by a few suits, who thought that the workers should just go get a better job. The ignorance would have been funny if the issue was less serious. But it went over very well, and we got a lot of support from those we talked to. We have a lot of flyers left, and will probably plan another one soon."

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ATLANTA, GA report:

"The demonstration went really well. We were able to distribute information about the boycott to a lot of people, most of whom were really interested and thankful to know about it. We met at the Taco Bell on Ponce de Leon near Boulevard at 11:00am and stayed through lunch till 1:00. We had people stand with signs reading "Boycott the Bell!" and "Taco Bell exploits Florida Farmworkers" and "Support Florida Tomato Pickers!" at each entrance to the Taco Bell and facing the road. We were able to give flyers to folks coming in and deterred a few people from entering. We also handed out flyers to cars as they came out of the drive thru. We had good conversations with passers-by and with hopefully ex-customers."

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NORMAN, OK report:

"We did a protest on Saturday in front of our favorite Taco Bell, the one we hit when the group (from the mini-tour) was here in October. We were told we were inciting a riot, but... no arrests this time!"

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