The CIW has repeatedly asked to meet with Taco Bell fast food restaurant representatives at their corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA to discuss the working and living conditions of the farmworkers who pick Taco Bell's tomatoes.
Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the Immokalee-based "Six L's, Packing, Co., Inc.", one of the nation's largest tomato producers and a contractor for Taco Bell, are paid 40 cents for every 32-pound bucket they pick. That is the same per bucket rate, or "piece rate", paid in 1978.
At that rate workers must pick and haul 2 TONS of tomatoes to make in a day. [According to the US Department of Labor, the median annual income of farmworkers today is ,500.] Workers picking for Six L's are denied the right to organize and the right to overtime pay for overtime work. They receive no health insurance, no sick leave, no paid holidays, no paid vacation, and no pension. Taco Bell has refused to discuss these conditions with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Taco Bell reported sales of more than billion in 1999, while Tricon, Inc., Taco Bell's parent corporation (together with Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken), reported system-wide sales of over billion last year.
Taco Bell could double the picking piece rate paid to farmworkers by agreeing to pay just one penny more per pound for the tomatoes it buys from Six L's. We beliebe that Taco Bell, as part of the "world's largest restaurant system," can easily afford to pay one penny more. But even if they passed the cost on to its customers, the consumers, it would still be less than 1/4 of 1 cent more for each Chalupa.
Do you think Americans would be willing to pay 1/4 of 1 penny more for each Chalupa they eat, if it meant that farmworkers could earn a living wage?
The CIW thinks they would.
And the CIW asks that you consider the situation of the farmworkers that picked the tomatoes that so many Americans will eat today; and let Taco Bell know that you expect them to meet with the farmworkers' representatives. You can call or write:
Emil J. Brolik, President and Cheif Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.
17901 Von Karman
Irvine, CA 92614
Or you can always call Taco Bell at 1-800-TACOBELL
For more information about CIW go to www.ciw-online.org