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United Methodist Women & Farmworker Justice

by Sung-ok Lee

Important New Action Alert!

Contact McDonald's, Burger King, and Subway today to ask that they follow Taco Bell's lead, meet  with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), and help end human rights abuses in their supply chain!        

The United Methodist Church, in the 2004 General Conference, adopted the resolution to boycott Taco Bell for fair wages and working condition of tomato pickers.  United Methodist Women participated in action to bring about a peaceful settlement to the boycott in March, 2005                                                                                                                                      

The victory in the Taco Bell Boycott established several key new principles that, taken together, represent a significant step toward social responsibility in the fast-food industry.

But Taco Bell is only one major buyer among many, and the impact of its commitment to those new principles will fall only on those workers who pick tomatoes for Taco Bell.

On March 8th, at the press conference that ended the Taco Bell Boycott, CIW member and 2003 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate Lucas Benitez addressed the vast network of boycott allies directly, saying, "Our work together is not done. Now we must convince other companies that they have the power to change the way they do business and the way workers are treated." He continued:                         

"The real significance of this agreement lies in the promise it holds for much greater change in the future…Human rights are universal, and if we as farmworkers are to one day indeed enjoy equal rights, the same rights all other workers in this country are guaranteed, this agreement must only be a beginning. To make those rights truly universal, other leaders of the fast-food industry and the supermarket industry must join us on this path toward social responsibility. With a broad coalition of industry leaders committed to these principles, we can finally dream of a day when Florida's farmworkers will enjoy the kind of wages and working conditions we deserve. And when that day comes, the restaurants and markets of this country will truly be able to stand behind their food, from the fields to America's tables."

You can help hasten the day when all Florida farmworkers enjoy the same fundamental rights to a decent wage and fair working conditions.

Write to McDonald's, Burger King, or Subway and urge them to commit their companies and their market power to making real the principles established in the Taco Bell agreement. See attached sample letter for the three companies.

For more information, go to http://www.ciw-online.org/news.html and http://www.nfwm.org, or contact the Office of Community Action, Women's Division, 212-870-3766, SLee@gbgm-umc.org

Date posted: Jun 13, 2005