Students from Cal State LA and activists converged on the Taco Bell at Atlantic and Cesar Chavez to call for a boycott of Taco Bell to improve the wages for tomato pickers.
The intersection, kitty-corner from East LA College, was blaring with people honking their horns in support of the demonstrators, and people transferring buses, on their way home, devoured the flyers like a teenagers scarfing down 49 cent tacos. In fact, four of the picketers were kids who had been eating at the same restaurant earlier in the day; they decided to stop eating there for the boycott.
Workers in Florida who supply Taco Bell and other fast food outlets are paid only for picking two tons of tomatoes. (That's around one cent per tomato, and it's seasonal work.) According to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the group coordinating the national campaign, pay could be doubled by increasing food prices by only one cent.
Seasonal migrant farm workers are backbone of the multi-billion dollar global fast food industry. Often ignored, the pickets on Friday demonstrated that there's popular support for the boycott, even among the relatively affluent working class community of Monterey Park / East LA / Eastmont.
The demonstration was one in a series that leading up to a major protest at the Taco Bell national headquarters in Irvine, California. Another one is planned next Friday, at the same location, at 6 PM.