What they're saying about the McDonald's victory:

Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine:
"It has been an honor to be a part of the Immokalee workers' historic fight for justice. The CIW and their allies have won two staggering victories against powerful corporate entities, and I will stand alongside them in their continuing struggles for the
rights of working people nationwide."

United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS):
"Congratulations to the CIW and SFA for showing the fast food industry what worker, student, and community power is! Taco Bell felt it and now McDonalds, so watch out Burger King."

For Immediate Release:
Monday, April 9, 2007 12:00 PM EST

Contact:
Marc Rodrigues, 239-292-3431
Melody Gonzalez, 239-986-0847

CIW, McDONALD'S REACH LANDMARK ACCORD FOLLOWING TWO YEAR CAMPAIGN

Student and youth allies ready for next step in Campaign for Fair Food

ATLANTA, GA – Today at The Carter Center, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and McDonald's announced a landmark agreement to work together to improve the wages and working conditions of Florida farmworkers. After two years of escalating pressure by the CIW and its allies, McDonald's has agreed to:

1. A penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes for McDonald's;
2. A stronger code of conduct based on the principle of worker participation;
3. A collaborative effort to develop a third-party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating workers' complaints of abuse.

"Two years ago, our agreement with Yum Brands marked the first step toward a distant dream of ensuring human rights for workers in Florida’s fields," said Lucas Benitez of the CIW. "Today, with McDonald’s, we have taken another major step toward a world where we as farmworkers can enjoy a fair wage and humane working conditions in exchange for the hard and essential work we do every day."

"This is momentous victory for human rights and dignity in Florida's fields. Together with farmworkers, we have brought one of the most powerful corporations in the world to the table and moved them to take concrete steps to address human rights abuses in its supply chain," said Marc Rodrigues of the Student/Farmworker Alliance. "While no single victory will bring about all of the changes we seek, this watershed agreement truly opens the door for industry-wide improvements in farmworkers' wages and working conditions."

"As in the Taco Bell Boycott victory, youth and students played a crucial role in the rapid success of the McDonald's campaign," said Melody Gonzalez of the Student/Farmworker Alliance. "From aggressive grassroots education to nationally coordinated protests, SFA provided leadership to a broad and diverse network of young allies determined to transform McDonald's marketing 'sweet spot' (18-24-year-olds) into a well-organized sore spot. This victory demonstrates once again the effectiveness and clout of the alliance between Florida's farmworkers and students and youth throughout the U.S. Now we must re-double our efforts as we press for even deeper changes in the food industry, starting with Burger King."

The CIW and SFA will continue their current 10-day bus tour to Chicago, IL where they will participate in a historic mobilization on April 14th. More than 1,000 students from thirty states – including Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois and California – will join the CIW for a major parade and rally announcing the next phase in the Campaign for Fair Food. Among the high-profile supporters who will be joining the CIW and SFA are Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine; John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO; Dolores Huerta, co-founder, United Farm Workers; Rev. Michael Livingston, President of the National Council of Churches; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; and Eliseo Medina, Vice President, SEIU.

Presently, Florida tomato pickers earn 40-45 cents for every 32-lb bucket of tomatoes they pick. At this rate, a farmworker must pick two tons of tomatoes to make just $50 in a day. Farmworkers regularly work 10-12 hour days with no overtime pay, no health insurance, no right to organize, no sick days and no benefits whatsoever.

The CIW is a community organization based in southwest Florida that has been nationally and internationally recognized for its leadership in human rights, including uncovering and assisting in the successful prosecution of five farmworker slavery rings since 1997. The CIW reached a similar agreement to improve wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers with Yum Brands in 2005 after a four-year boycott of Taco Bell.

SFA is a national network of youth and students organizing in alliance with farmworkers to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the fields. SFA is a founding member of the Alliance for Fair Food, a 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.

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PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org