Date: February 27, 2003
Re: Day 4-5 of farmworkers hunger strike outside Taco Bell world headquarters (17901 Von Karman Ave.), Irvine, CA
Contact: Coalition of Immokalee Workers, (239) 821-5481; (323) 387-0344, (239) 839-3970; (239) 503-0133, 239-634-4229; website: http://www.ciw-online.org
UPCOMING EVENTS AT FARMWORKER HUNGER STRIKE AT TACO BELL HQ
Massive rally February 28 to support Hunger-strikers w/ Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation,” CA Senator Joe Dunn, the band Slowrider, and others
IRVINE, CA-- Late tonight, over 70 SEIU janitors from the corporate park surrounding Taco Bell HQ will join in solidarity with the hunger striking farmworkers. The janitors will join farmworkers at Taco Bell headquarters at 10:00 pm on their break for a spirited rally.
On Friday, February 28th, day five of the fast, farmworker hunger strikers will join thousands of supporters--including artists, authors, organized labor, elected representatives--at Taco Bell headquarters in a solidarity rally supporting the Taco Bell boycott. Participants include Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, Anuradha Mittal of Food First, musicians Slowrider and Los Jornaleros del Norte, and CA State Senator Joe Dunn. Organizations participating include UFW, UFCW, SEIU, the Community-Farm Alliance of family farmers, and many more. Actor Edward James Olmos plans to attend. Students from over 200 schools across the US are also travelling to participate in the rally.
In conjunction with the hunger strike, the Student-Farmworker Alliance has toured 14 California universities in four days, participating in rallies, protests, and attending benefit concerts in the strikers’ honor. Schools included UCLA, Cal-State LA, USC, and San Diego State. Responding to student pressure, Cal State LA cancelled its contract with Taco Bell on campus, becoming the 15th school to Boot the Bell. In addition, hundreds of solidarity protests are taking place across the nation this week.
An AFSCME local endorsed the boycott, including employees of a unionized Taco Bell. One of the employees will be speaking at the Feb. 28th rally.
The Executive Board of the National Council of Churches (NCC) -- representing 140,000 Protestant and Orthodox congregations which claim more than 50 million parishioners -- has voted unanimously to support the workers’ fast. In a statement released on Feb. 25th, the NCC Executive Board called on Taco Bell “to enter into serious dialogue with the CIW.” Today (2/27), Taco Bell refused to meet with NCC representatives who attempted to deliver a copy of the Council’s statement to Taco Bell executives.
[BACKGROUND: Farmworkers outside of Taco Bell headquarters -- encamped 24 hours a day on Von Karman in Irvine -- have entered their fourth day of a hunger strike. The workers (members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based workers’ rights organization) are calling on Taco Bell to take responsibility for the sweatshop conditions in Florida’s fields where the fast-food giant buys its tomatoes. They have been joined by students, religious leaders, and small farmers who have come from across the country in solidarity with the fasting farmworkers, in one of the largest hunger strikes in US history.]
## 30 ##