About 100 people protested at Taco Hell's Irvine world headquarters because of Taco Hell's refusal to pay their tomato pickers a living wage, and their refusal to even meet with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the organization Florida tomato pickers and supporters formed, to discuss a pay raise. Taco Hell's tomato pickers only earn 40 cents for every 32 pound bucket they pick, which is the same rate they earned in 1978. Workers must pick and haul 2 TONS of tomatoes to make in a day, and only earn about ,500 a year, according the U.S. Department of Labor. Workers are just asking for a one cent per pound raise, which would only cost 1/4 cent per Chalupa.
Protesters stayed outside Taco Hell's headquarters for almost three hours, from 3-6 pm. Many cars honked in support as they drove by. Several people drummed and people chanted things such as "Taco Bell take a stand, living wages we demand." Food Not Bombs had excellent food. Del Taco cups were spotted around the premises, and rumor has it that Del Taco guy on the commercials was spotted amongst the crowd. At two points, protesters walked around the Taco Bell high-rise to the front entrances and chanted, "Taco Bell go to hell." Hopefully Taco Hell executives got the message that people in their own Orange County and surrounding communities support a raise for their tomato pickers, but with their making over billion in sales in 1999, they probably couldn't see past the stacks of money they worship.
As usual, police overreacted and had at least 20 police (including "Bart" the police dog in one police car) protecting the overpaid executives and headquarters of a company that is part of one of the world's largest restaurant systems. There was one undercover cop with a large video camera pretending to be from the media. He had on a fake press pass, just walked around videotaping people's faces, and asked some people who the organizers were and prying questions like that. The black bloc did an excellent job of keeping an eye on him.
This protest is merely a small buildup to the March 11 national protest where thousands of people from all over the country, unions, church groups, community organizations, and more will be marching on Taco Bell's world headquarters. The march will be lead by the CIW who are traveling across the country to try to meet with Taco Hell corporate executives, hoping to discuss a raise.
Weekly organizing meetings are taking place in both Los Angeles and Orange County. For local events and organizing for this campaign, contact email@example.com
Orange County Meetings are held in Santa Ana on Thursdays at 7pm at the SEIU office located on 1651 4th St. (on corner of 4th and Lyon), Suite #120.
The next Los Angeles meeting will be on Wednesday, January 16 7:00 PM at the Action LA/Quaker House: 4167 South Normandie, Los Angeles (south of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in South Central LA)
Info call 626-695-3405
To find out more about the Taco Bell Boycott or the national TACO BELL TRUTH TOUR STARTING ON MARCH 1 IN FLORIDA AND ENDING AT THE TACO BELL NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS ON MARCH 17 please visit the National website at http://www.ciw-online.org