- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by IMCer on the scene
Tuesday, Mar. 04, 2003 at 5:44 PM
A note from CIW on Day 8 of the Farmworkers' Hunger Strike outside Taco Bell world Headquarters in Irvine, CA
March 3, 2003
HUNGER STRIKERS ASK:
“Can Taco Bell guarantee its customers that the tomatoes in its chalupas were not picked by forced labor?”
IRVINE, CA -- Following the discovery and federal prosecution of six cases of modern-day slavery in the past five years in South Florida agriculture -- three involving tomato pickers -- the hunger strikers outside of Taco Bell headquarters are asking: “What mechanisms does Taco Bell have in place to guarantee to its customers that the tomatoes in their chalupas were not picked by workers in modern-day slavery conditions.”
In an April, 1999, story in the “Naples (FL) Daily News,” entitled, “Alleged Collier slavery ring not the first,” the issue of multiple slavery operations in Southwest
Florida agriculture was the subject:
“’We weren’t allowed to leave, and we were afraid they would kill us if we tried to escape,’ said Guzman [a victim of forced labor in an earlier case], who had
been recruited in Immokalee..., ‘I couldn’t believe it when I saw this morning that it’s happened here again.’ Federal agents arrested three Immokalee labor bosses Wednesday on charges of enslaving 28 Mexican nationals, among them seven teen-agers... (who) allegedly were sold into slavery at ,000 a piece, to work in agricultural fields in Lee and Collier counties.”
The workers in the 1999 case picked tomatoes for Manley Farms, where Ronnie Rose, the farm manager, commented in the same article, “We have no
knowledge of any slavery or anything of this nature. It’s hard to believe. I’m shocked. I’m stunned, and if any part of it is true, I’m sad.” The crewleaders
involved ultimately pled guilty to several charges, including conspiracy to hold workers in peonage (holding workers against their will in involuntary servitude in order to collect a debt) and unsafe labor practices.
Lucas Benitez of the CIW wrote in the CIW’s latest letter to Taco Bell CEO Emil Brolick, “[The] fast-food giants cannot possibly guarantee their customers that
the tomatoes and other produce in their products are free of forced labor, or that basic human rights are respected everywhere along their supply chain. To
claim otherwise would be a transparent fraud, when the industry’s own suppliers claim ignorance of slavery -- slavery confirmed in US federal court --
right under their noses. If Manley Farms (or others) are to be believed when they claim no knowledge of slavery in its fields, then it is simply impossible
that any buyer, or potential buyer, further along the distribution chain could ethically claim that its products were not picked by slave labor.”
As the Naples Daily News wrote, “arrests and allegations of forced labor in Immokalee fields are hardly uncommon” (“Four men charged with running
slavery ring in Immokalee,” 4/29/99). And while such cases clearly represent an extreme form of labor exploitation in Florida’s tomato fields, sweatshop-like
conditions -- sub-poverty wages, no right to organize, no right to overtime pay, no health insurance, pension, holiday leave, sick leave, or vacation -- are the
everyday reality for the farmworkers who pick a significant percentage of tomatoes that go into Taco Bell’s products.
The CIW’s letter to Taco Bell continued, “From sweatshops to slavery, the conditions in Florida’s tomato fields have been a scandal since the epochal
Edward R. Murrow documentary “The Harvest of Shame.” Yet the US foodservice industry that relies on Florida for its fruit and vegetable supplies
has done nothing to improve labor conditions along its supply chain, not even so much as issue a statement of concern for the workers at the foundation of the
[BACKGROUND: Farmworkers outside of Taco Bell headquarters -- encamped 24 hours a day on Von Karman in Irvine -- have entered the second week of
their 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. On Friday, Feb. 28, more than a thousand supporters thronged to the site of the strike for a rally in support of the strikers. Eric Schlosser, author of
“Fast Food Nation” was a featured speaker at the rally.]
The national Boot the Bell campaign, spearheaded by the Student-Farmworker Alliance in support of the boycott, has successfully organized on 14 high
schools and universities to remove already-existing Taco Bells or block Taco Bells from coming on campus. Currently, students are organizing similar
campaigns on over 40 campuses across the country. Fifty students nationwide fasted for a week in solidarity with the hunger strikers.
Day 8 of Farmworkers hunger strike outside Taco Bell’s world headquarters, Irvine, CA
Contact: Coalition of Immokalee Workers, (239) 821-5481; (323) 387-0344, (239) 839-3970; (239) 503-0133, 239-634-4229;
Report this post as:
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
More Local News...
Fbi fears this post
Disabled Folks among the extreme poorest in US counts
Banks Enriched By Trump Deficit Increase Of 4 to 5 Trillion $
Illegal Russians Receiving Land and Homes in West Bank 2018
Un monde de pauvreté
14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head
Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy
Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies
Paraphysique de l'intelligence
Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record
Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals.
Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries
The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally!
The System Question as a Survival Question
Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control
Du pain et des jeux
Paraphysique de martyrologie
Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator
Democratic Socialists of America
Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's
Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento
FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution?
Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians
The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally!
Social Policy as Social Infrastructure
Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud
Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner..
June 2018 Honduras coup update
More Breaking News...