Media Advisory -
Student/Farmworker Alliance (www.sfalliance.org)
Students and youth hold nationwide protests to demand McDonald’s eliminate labor abuse in its tomato supply chain
Dozens of events highlight urgent need for change in agricultural industry
CITY, STATE – Students and young people across the country will hold protests and educational events on Oct. 27-28th calling on fast-food giant McDonald’s to work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to help establish real labor rights for the workers who pick tomatoes for McDonald’s suppliers. Specifically, farmworkers from the CIW and their allies will be calling for:
With strong support from students and youth, the CIW won its four-year national boycott against Taco Bell in March 2005. Currently, the CIW and its allies are seeking to extend these precedent-setting gains for farmworkers throughout the rest of the fast-food industry. Unfortunately, McDonald’s has taken a path that threatens to undercut the wage gains won by farmworkers in the Taco Bell boycott and to push workers back away from the table where decisions are made that affect their lives.
McDonald's is vulnerable to the opinions and actions of young consumers. The company spends over $1.5 billion annually promoting its brand and recently named 18- to 24-year-olds as its new marketing "sweet spot," according to Nation's Restaurant News (April 11, 2005). Students and youth in dozens of communities – from Stony Brook, NY to San Diego, CA – are planning events to show their support for Florida's farmworkers and labor rights.
Melody Gonzalez of the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) explains, "Young people care deeply about human rights. If McDonald's refuses to work with the CIW for real labor reform in its supply chain, it's marketing 'sweet spot' will soon become its sore spot."
Marc Rodrigues of the Student/Farmworker Alliance concurs, "Through the Taco Bell boycott, students and youth have already demonstrated our ability to affect change in the fast-food industry. We have a track record of success in pushing the industry towards real corporate social responsibility. It's time for McDonald's to work with the CIW to ensure real rights for farmworkers."
[Insert brief event description and quote from local organizer about local action.]
Additional McDonald's protests and educational events will occur in Santa Cruz, CA; Lake Worth, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Hattiesburg, MS; Pittsburgh, PA; San Antonio, TX; and dozens of other cities throughout the country.
The nationwide protests, initiated by Student/Farmworker Alliance, occur on the heels of the "2006 McDonald's Midwest Tour." Farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their allies, for the second time this year, will travel from Immokalee, FL -- home of one of the largest farmworker communities in the country -- to Chicago, IL, home of the world’s largest restaurant chain, McDonald’s. Farmworkers and their allies will be giving presentations in schools, churches, and other community spaces, as well as are picketing at local McDonald´s restaurants and McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, IL. The action is part of the CIW’s "Campaign for Fair Food." The Campaign has gained impressive new support in recent months, including the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, actor Martin Sheen, and Nobel Prize laureate Jody Williams.
Student/Farmworker Alliance is a national network of youth and students in partnership with the CIW. By the end of the Taco Bell boycott in 2005, SFA's "Boot the Bell" campaign was one of the fastest-growing movements for economic justice on campuses across the country. Students successfully cut or prevented new campus contracts with Taco Bell at 22 colleges and high schools nationwide, including high-profile victories at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame.
SFA is a founding member of the Alliance for Fair Food, a rapidly expanding network of human rights, religious, student, labor, and grassroots organizations promoting principles and practices of socially responsible purchasing in the corporate food industry that advance and ensure the human rights of farmworkers at the bottom of corporate supply chains. For more, visit www.allianceforfairfood.org
PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org