Monday, June 2, 2008

For whom the bells toll

"Farmworkers in Florida are part of this chain of misery. Farmworkers in the US live in poverty. Poverty and hunger go hand in hand. Surveys place the farmworker income somewhere between $7,400 and $12,0001 a year. The fast food agreements would increase pay for Immokalee tomato pickers by 75%, bringing them closer to the $18,500 living wage figure for that town.

The story doesn't end there, however. Farmworkers in Immokalee are part of the large migration of family and small farmers (campesino/as) who have been displaced from their home in Mexico and Guatemala. Mercilessly undercut by international agri-business, now that NAFTA and similar pacts have opened up borders, they are no longer able to feed their families and sell the rest of their crop. As a last resort, they have fled north to eke out a living. Florida's fields are one of the places they land.2

In 2000, against all odds, the CIW initiated a boycott of Taco Bell. After more than 4 years of struggle -- including tours (giras) criss-crossing the US, large-scale marches, support from actors and rock stars, hunger strikes, job actions, shareholder pressure led by the faith-based community, and a vibrant student movement which removed Taco Bells from college campuses throughout the US -- the wildly anti-union Taco Bell cracked. (For more details of this campaign, see "Immokalee Workers Take Down Taco Bell," Monthly Review, October 2005.)" (Thanks Daniel)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to live near Immokalee and was very minorly involved with the CIW from 2001. Everything they say about the living conditions and so on is completely true. This is an organization that deserves as much publicity as possible. Their victories against McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell are amazing. Of course, this is not enough and we must do more than support CIW boycotts and actions... I wonder what is the best way to expand on the this method of bringing corporations to account.