Friday, December 24, 2010

Make ending Modern-day Slavery Quiznos New Year's Resolution

Make ending Modern-day Slavery Quiznos New Year's Resolution...
By making OUR New Year's Resolution to intensify our actions!

WHAT: Protest & Rally in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

WHEN: Monday, January 3, 11:30-1:00pm

WHERE: Outside Quiznos Corporate Headquarters - 1001 17th St.
(17th & Curtis, downtown Denver)

For months, Quiznos has promised that it would soon be joining in agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve the wages and working conditions of farmworkers who pick tomatoes bought by the company. It is time to hold Quiznos to its word. Our New Year's Resolution is to escalate the campaign against Quiznos until the sub shop resolves to end human rights abuses in its supply chain.

Join Denver Fair Food and the Student/Farmworker Alliance to demand that Quiznos make Fair Food a reality!

Florida farmworkers who pick tomatoes are among the nation's most exploited workers: they earn sub-poverty wages, have no right to form unions or to over-time pay, lack traditional employment benefits such as health, sick leave or pensions, and have not received a significant raise in nearly 30 years. At the current rate, a Florida tomato picker must harvest over TWO TONS just to earn the equivalent of minimum wage for a typical 10 hour. In the most extreme situations workers are held in modern-day slavery and forced to work against their will.

In 2001, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers - a grassroots organization of migrant farmworkers based in Florida - and their allies launched the Campaign for Fair Food, calling on retail food industry leaders to address the egregious working conditions and poverty stemming from these companies' high-volume/low-cost purchasing practices. As a result, the CIW has reached historic agreements with McDonald's, Burger King, Subway and others to directly improve farmworker wages and working conditions and set new standards for social responsibility in Florida agriculture.

Despite these breakthroughs, Quiznos - who profits from the exploitation of farmworkers due to the sheer volume of its tomato purchases - has yet to take responsibility. While there has been discussions with the CIW, those talks continue to drag on because Quiznos won't agree to the same Fair Food Code of Conduct that the entire Florida tomato industry has already adopted. Visit for more info.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two blog posts about our October Quiznos action

Our last action outside Quiznos corporate headquarters may have been a couple of months ago but we still wanted to share some of the great coverage it got. So here are two blog posts written by folks at

First off there was this great peice by Amanda Kloer:

Students Protest Quiznos' Unfair Food with Britney Spears Flash Mob
Here's an excerpt:
Move over, Glee cast — you're being overshadowed by farm workers' rights advocates. The Student/Farmworker Alliance recently choreographed their own Britney Spears song and dance number to rival the ones on Glee. But instead of being executed by a team of television stars, this one was done guerrilla style by a sidewalk flash mob outside Quiznos headquarters in Denver, Colorado. You can dance to Britney in spirit by signing the petition to tell Quiznos to be bold and stand for slave-free food. [Read more]

And secondly is another excellent post by Gabriela Garcia:
Even Britney Spears Can’t Convince Quiznos to Quit Accepting Farm Worker Exploitation
which features this great quote from Denver Fair Food member Robert McGoey:
"The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is leading a transformation of Florida agriculture from an old system which brutally exploited farm workers to a new paradigm which values and upholds the human rights of workers,” Robert McGoey of Denver Fair Food says. “As a major buyer of tomatoes, Quiznos' purchasing power can either advance this transformation or can hold it back — thus delaying the hopes and dreams of thousands of farm workers.” [Read more]

According to the webpage each of these articles has been read by thousands of people!

And there have been hundreds of people who have contacted Quiznos to call on the company to ensure fair wages and human rights for farmworkers! You too can send an email to Quiznos by clicking here:
Tell Quiznos to Be Bold and Say No to Slave-Picked Produce

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Action Alert! Tell Quiznos: Now is the time for Fair Food!

Take 30 seconds to send an email to Quiznos executives demanding that the company support fair wages and human rights for farmworkers:
Sign the petition here!

With the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange announcing a landmark agreement to extend the CIW's Fair Food principles to over 90% of the Florida tomato industry, the future of fair wages and dignified working conditions for farmworkers is just over the horizon.

However Quiznos continues to stall instead of joining the efforts of the CIW to end sweatshop conditions, sub-poverty wages and modern-day slavery in Florida's tomato fields. Quiznos' stalling is delaying progress toward the more just food industry for which farmworkers have been fighting for so long.

Send an email to Quiznos by clicking here!

Monday, November 29, 2010

national Supermarket Week of Action: Denver represents!

The Supermarket Week of Action saw more than 30 actions happen around the country.

With the CIW and the FTGE announcing a landmark agreement to extend the CIW's Fair Food principles to over 90% of the Florida tomato industry, the Harvest of Shame is nearing an end. As we turn the page on this chapter of Florida agricultural history, however, much work remains. The supermarket industry is now the only impediment to a future of fair wages and dignified treatment for farmworkers.

Check out the full multimedia report from the Week of Action on the Student/Farmworker site by clicking below:

And we wanted to also share our Week of Action Photos from Denver. Denver hosted several actions during the week. One unidentified group linked the purchasing practices of Kroger-owned King Soopers with the harsh reality of continued exploitation in the fields with this rather blunt (and very bad-ass) banner drop:

...while at the same time members of Denver Fair Food employed a slightly different tactic by delivering a letter to King Soopers' headquarters. (So let us get this straight: King Soopers is "Colorado's homegrown grocery store" despite being one of dozens of brands owned by Cincinnati-based corporate behemoth Kroger? Hmm...)

Unfortunately, no one from King Soopers was willing to meet with us. But we're undaunted, knowing that King Soopers and Kroger's other brands will be further bomdarded with the message of the Campaign for Fair Food until they finally decide to behave in a socially responsible way.

Elsewhere, other Denver Fair Food members took the message straight to King Soopers' customer - customers were eager to learn the truth behind their produce and to sign postcards calling on Kroger to work with the CIW.

We'd also like to do a shout out to our compas in the Río Grande Valley who reminded Denver-based Quiznos that the sub franchise isn't off the hook, dropping off a manager letter at their local Quiznos restaurant. Indeed the campaign against Quiznos is only growing and spreading for across the nation. And Quiznos can be sure they'll be hearing from us in Denver again soon!

Finally we'll end with this message to the supermarket industry from the Student/Farmworker Alliance:

Farmworkers & consumers to supermarkets: "The world is changing; When will you?"
The CIW's agreement with the FTGE — fruit of 15 years of struggle by farmworkers and their allies — is a landmark moment in the history of agriculture in the US. (Don't miss the media round-up below from coverage of the agreement and Week of Action.)

But the Campaign for Fair Food is far from over. The onus is now clearly on supermarket chains such as Publix, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Giant, Walmart and Trader Joe's to step up and support the higher standards and more fair wages represented by the CIW/FTGE accord with their significant purchasing power. And if the past is any guide, it will ultimately be the organized voice of conscious consumers — taking action alongside Immokalee's farmworkers — that will finally bring the supermarket industry to the table.

Thanks to the hard work of farmworkers in Immokalee, thousands of farmworker allies across the country, nine major food corporations, and, now, almost the entire Florida tomato industry, it's never been easier to support human rights in Florida's fields.

The refusal on the part of supermarket industry leaders to participate in these changes is as indefensible as it is inexplicable.

With every additional retailer that participates, the wage increase and the support for fair standards will grow. Whether or not Publix, Stop & Shop, Kroger and other industry leaders participate makes a real difference in whether or not the men and women who work 10-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week to harvest this country's food must continue to make the choice between paying rent or buying food; between seeking medical care for workplace injuries or losing their jobs; between supporting their families and having their dignity violated.

Publix, Ahold, Kroger: What side of history will you be on? Will you throw your weight behind the changes underway in Florida's fields today, or will you continue to stand, arms crossed, blocking the path to progress?

One thing's for certain, consumers and farmworker allies will have their say. Save the Date and get ready to join us in the Boston area February 27 and in Tampa on March 5, 2011, as we will make it plain that it's time for Ahold and Publix to be a part of the solution to the Harvest of Shame that has gone on for far too long.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Harvest of Shame" Revisited - 50 years later

The original "Harvest of Shame" was broadcast on the day after Thanksgiving, 1960. Fifty years later, CBS Evening News returned to Immokalee to revisit Florida's fields and, thanks to the recent advances in the Campaign for Fair Food, found reason for hope. Check out the video above, and then click here to see excerpts from the original documentary.

And when you're done, just take a moment to consider the inexplicable -- some might say infuriating -- refusal of companies like Publix, Ahold, and Kroger to support the process of change that is underway today in Florida's fields.

While the harvest itself may no longer be as shameful as it was when Edward R. Murrow first brought farm labor exploitation to the consciousness of the nation fifty years ago, the attitude of the major supermarket companies certainly is. And, ultimately, it is their attitude that will either hold this movement back -- and so hold farmworkers in continuing and unpardonable poverty and degradation -- or allow justice to truly flourish, and make real the dreams of farmworkers and Fair Food activists across the country of an agricultural industry where workers are paid a fair wage and treated with dignity.

This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for the huge steps forward this campaign has taken over the past year, and for the hope that progress gives us that, one day, those men and women who run our country's giant supermarket chains will find their way to doing the right thing by those people whose undervalued labor has built their riches for so very long.

But until they do, we will continue to fight for fundamental human rights in Florida's tomato fields. And you can join us -- click here for more on the CIW's Supermarket Campaign and plans for the big actions in Boston and Tampa this coming spring.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super Market Week of Action

This week of November 14-21 take action in the national Supermarket Week of Action.

There are several important ways you can participate:

1. The supermarket e-action: click here to send an email to King Sooper's parent company Kroger.

2. Manager letter drops: deliver a letter to the manager of your local King Sooper's and take a minute to tell the manager that, as one of Kroger's customers, you expect Kroger to work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to end the human rights crisis in Florida's fields.
Download the manager letter here.

3. Fliering: join us as we flier King Sooper's customers
Saturday, October 20, 11:00am
gather at the AFSC office (901 W. 14th Avenue)

Finally, check out this great video and help spread the word about the new Supermarket Campaign:

With the recent historic agreements between the CIW and leading tomato growers, the vision of a more just and humane agricultural system is closer than ever to becoming a reality.

There's no doubt that change is underway. But the rate, breadth, and depth of that change depends now more than ever on the buyers of Florida produce — from Publix to Ahold, Kroger to Trader Joe's, Quiznos, and Walmart.

In the lead-up to Thanksgiving - one of the busiest times of the year for this country's supermarkets - you can do your part to help speed the day when all of Florida's farmworkers enjoy the fair wages, respect and dignity they deserve.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Coast Encuentro a smashing success!

The No Coast Encuentro was a smashing success! Throughout the weekend of October 15-17, we gathered with allies from New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois and elsewhere. In those hectic three days, we formed new bonds with new friends from Boulder to Immokalee, renewed our committment to the Campaign for Fair Food, set a course for future action. (Unfortunately, one thing we failed to do was take many photos but here a few . . .)
This photo was taken literally miliseconds before the pinata from our Saturday party was decimated and its sweet contents were released for the partygoers' enjoyment. The poor tomato pinata may serve as a good analogy for what is coming to those companies - such as Quiznos, Kroger and Chipotle - which continue to hold out against the Campaign for Fair Food and the rising tide of justice in Florida's fields.
During the weekend, not only did we lead a powerful action outside Quiznos headquarters (see the photoreport here and the video here), we sharpened our organizing skills, shared ideas for future action and strategized around the next steps in the Campaign. Pictured above is a partial list of the many goals and committments that Encuentro participants made as we rapped up the Encuentro and head backed to our communities. Just like our sad paper mache friend, the corporate holdout are in for a beating.

More than anything the Encuentro was an opportunity for people to get involved, to strengthen our movement and to build connections between the many communities fighting for Fair Food. This picture, the closest we have to a group photo, represents just a fraction of the well-over a hundred people who picketed, learned, shared, partied, cooked, strategized and otherwise contributed to the No Coast Encuentro.
Thanks to everyone who made the No Coast Enucentro a huge success!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Music Video! "Quiznos your stalling is killing me!"

This is hot!!! As promised, here is the music video from the Oct. 15 "Quit stalling, Quiznos" flashmob and protest.

Check out the video on youtube or view it below.

Share with all your friends!

See our photoreport from the action as well: "Quiznos, the world is changing!!! When will you?"

And read the article from the Westword blog: "Denver Fair Food and Coalition of Immokalee Workers target Quiznos"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Quiznos, the world is changing!!! When will you?"

During the morning preparations for our action outside Quiznos headquarters last Friday, Gerardo Reyes Chavez (on the left) from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers quickly scrawled a sign reading "Quiznos!!! The World is changing. When will you?" His words cut to the significance of the current moment in the Campaign for Fair Food and the urgency of the need for Quiznos to join the potential tidal shift in farm labor relations in Florida (and beyond) which the moment represents.

Just last week, the CIW and Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the nation's largest tomato growers, announced a milestone agreement embodying the principles of fair wages, human rights and a voice for farmworkers for which the CIW has been fighting for so long. The agreement represents the first direct relationship between a grower and the grassroots, worker-led Coalition. Such a relationship would have been unimaginable just a couple years ago and is a profound break with literally hundreds of years of history during which farm owners have viewed farmworkers as little more than "machines in the fields."

Nonetheless, as Lucas Benitez of the CIW stated at the announcement of the agreement, "As we turn the page on this new chapter in Florida agricultural history, however, I do want to make one thing crystal clear. We are not today claiming that we have achieved the changes sought by the Campaign for Fair Food. Rather, we are announcing that we have forged a plan of action that gives us a realistic chance to bring about those changes."

The vision of a more just and humane agricultural system is teetering on the edge of becoming a reality. As a major buyer of tomatoes, Quzinos' purchasing power can contribute to pushing this reality into being or can serve to hold it back, delaying the hopes of thousands of farmworkers. With Pacific - in addition to the other leading Florida grower East Coast, two of the largest organic tomato producers, all Quiznos' leading fast food competitors, and the food service industry - now solidly behind the CIW's plan of action, there can be no acceptable excuses for Quiznos' failure to join the emerging Fair Food concensus. Justice delayed is justice denied, and unless Quiznos works with the CIW, it is supporting the intolerable status quo which is the human rights crisis in Florida agriculture.

"Quit Stalling, Quiznos!" Photoreport from the Action
With this dramatic background, a rowdy crowd - including not only a broad spectrum from clergy to students of the Denver community, but also our Fair Food companer@s from around Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois and as far away as New York and Florida - convened on Quiznos headquarters. We had a simple message: Quzinos must quit stalling!

Never content with your average protest, the Fair Food activists kicked things off with a song and dance routine to the tune of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" to delivery our message.

"Quiznos, your stalling . . . is killing me (and I), I must confess I still believe (still believe) working conditions must be in line with human riiiiiighhhttts! This agreement you must sign!"
View the music video here, but beware, 'cause it'll get stuck in your head.

After a few inspiring words from Gerardo Reyes, we began a lively picket. Meanwhile, a delegation went upstairs to Quiznos headquarters . . .

. . . to deliver a set of jumper cables to the sandwich franchise. In May, Quiznos promised us that it was pursuing an agreement with the CIW. Quiznos' words have rung hollow as the months have passed and there has been no progress on its part. We brought the cables as a gift to help Quiznos quit stalling and start moving in the right direction again.
To our dissapointment, no one from Quiznos was willing or able to meet us and accept our gift. Eventually, a senior vice president got on the phone and spoke with Rudy Cortinas, national co-coordinator of the Student/Farmworker Alliance. But not only was the VP unwilling to meet with us in person, he refused to so much as listen over the phone to Gerardo Reyes from the CIW. And instead of affirming the importance of a partnership with farmworkers in the protection of human rights in Quiznos supply chain, he regurgitated tired explanations about how the company was taking its own steps to address the issue. The cold shoulder we received at Quiznos headquarters is a big departure from the respect for workers in its supply chain that Quiznos claims to embrace.

Gerardo closed things up by rallying the crowd to continue the struggle and indeed re-double our efforts to bring Quiznos to the table. Everyone present may have been frustrated having been snubbed by Quiznos, but we left more determined than ever to bring about justice for farmworkers in Quiznos' supply chain.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Here's our press release for the action on Friday. If you're from the press, get in touch with us at Hope to see everyone there!

Concerned consumers from across the country tell Quiznos to "Quit Stalling!" on Farmworker Rights

DENVER – On Friday, October 15th, community members and consumers from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, Florida and elsewhere will convene in Downtown Denver at Quiznos national headquarters to urge the restaurant franchise to reach an agreement with Farmworkers which would substantively improve working conditions and wages in Florida’s tomato fields. The festive protest - composed of students, people of faith and community organizations such as Denver Fair Food and Student Farmworker Alliance - will include a musical act and dance number to the tune of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" as well as original Street Theater. The rally is part of the ongoing national Campaign for Fair Food led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Farmworker led organization from Immokalee, Florida. Gerardo Reyes Chavez, a farmworker and member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, will address the crowd.

"Our discussions with Quiznos have dragged on. Farmworkers cannot wait for our rights - for fair wages, dignity and freedom from forced labor - and we will continue to make progress toward a more modern and humane agricultural industry. Quiznos should stop holding out and join us on this mission as other companies have," says Reyes Chavez.

In May, representatives from Quiznos made statements publicly and on their website that they were pursuing an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. During a delegation to their headquarters, a Quiznos representative was recorded by local activists saying, "We're looking forward to having an agreement and I'm glad we've already made a significant amount of headway with it." (See video here: Today, Quiznos has not moved any closer to signing an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Farmworkers and their supporters have grown impatient as the months have passed. Already nine other food corporations, including McDonald's, Burger King and Subway, have signed agreements and are collaborating with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Mike Truswell of Denver Fair Food states: "Only by working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers can Quiznos ensure that the human rights of the workers who pick its tomatoes are respected. We will intensify our call for justice until the values which Quiznos says it supports become concrete commitments in the form of a partnership with farmworkers and real changes in the fields."

"Words are not enough. It's time for Quiznos to quit stalling and start acting to end the poverty and sweatshop conditions which farmworkers face," adds Jordan Garcia from the American Friends Service Committee, Colorado office.

Who: Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Denver Fair Food, Student Farmworker Alliance, concerned consumers from across the country.
What: Protest and Rally for Farmworker Rights: Dance routine and street theater, colorful signs, picketing, chanting and speech by Farmworker leader.
When: Friday, October 15th, 11:30am-1:00pm
Where: 1001 17th Street, Denver

For more information: or


Florida’s Farmworkers - who work for suppliers of the fast-food industry - face sweatshop conditions every day in the fields, including:

• Sub-poverty wages (tomato pickers earn roughly $10,000/year, according to the USDOL)
• No raise in nearly 30 years (pickers are paid virtually the same per bucket piece rate today as in 1980 - at the going rate of 40 to 50 cents per 32-lb bucket, workers must pick more than TWO TONS of tomatoes just to earn about $50 in a day)
• The denial of fundamental labor rights (no right to overtime pay nor right to organize)

In the most extreme cases, workers face actual conditions of modern-day slavery. Federal civil rights officials have successfully prosecuted seven slavery operations - involving over 1,000 workers - in Florida's fields since 1997. Two more prosecutions are currently underway.

In 2005, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers resolved a four-year, nationwide boycott against Taco Bell when the fast-food leader and its parent company, Yum Brands, agreed to pay a premium for its tomatoes to directly improve workers’ sub-poverty wages and to work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to address the labor abuses endemic to Florida agriculture. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has reached similar agreements with McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods and the four leading food service corporations.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers' groundbreaking work has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Center, Anti-Slavery International, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Business Ethics Network, among others. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has received extensive national and international media coverage since 2001.


Monday, October 4, 2010

No Coast Encuentro: Friday and Saturday night entertainment!

The No Coast Encuentro is less than two weeks away! In addition to the powerful action happening Friday, October 15 at 11:30 at Quiznos HQ and the amazing workshops, discussions and strategy sessions happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there is great entertainment happening both Friday and Saturday night.

Register online and find all the details at here!

1) The Demarest Factor: US Military Mapping of Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico - Film premiere and presentation by Simon Sedillo
Friday, October 15th, 7:00pm
Auraria Campus, North Classroom 1535
(near Speer and Larimer)

2) Dance Party and Celebration!
Saturday, October 16th, 9:00pm
Flobots Community Space
2705 Larimer St.

Join us for all or part of the Encuentro! See the full schedule here!

1) The Demarest Factor: US Military Mapping of Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico - Film premiere and presentation by Simon Sedillo

Friday, October 15th, 7:00pm
Auraria Campus, North Classroom 1535 [Map]
(near Speer and Larimer)

This film and workshop presentation discusses a recent investigation into US military mapping of communally owned indigenous land in Oaxaca, Mexico. Kansas University geography professors presented the mapping project to indigenous communities as a participatory research project intended to benefit the communities ability to manage their resources and territory. The involvement of the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and a US Army School of the America’s graduate, Lt. Col. Geoffrey B. Demarest, raised serious suspicions about the true nature of the mapping project known as “The Bowman Expeditions” or “Mexico Indigena”. This film will discuss parallels between US political and economic interests within the North American Free Trade Agreement, and a US military strategy to secure those very interests.

Simón Sedillo is a community rights defense organizer and film maker. He has spent the last 8 years documenting, producing and teaching community based video documentation in Mexico and the US. Through lectures, workshops, and short films, Sedillo breaks down the effects of neoliberalism, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and militarism on indigenous communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color in the US and Mexico. Through collaborative media projects, Sedillo’s work has contributed to a growing network of communities whose primary objective is to share, teach, and learn from one another, about community based media production and the collective construction of horizontal networks of community rights defense. Sedillo is also an active member of the campaign to close the U.S. Army School of the America’s, at Fort Benning, in Columbus, GA. You can find him at the gates of the U.S. Army base every November along with the folks from The School of the America’s Watch at

2) Dance Party and Celebration!

Saturday, October 16th, 9:00pm
Flobots Community Space
2705 Larimer St. [Map]

Music, snacks, beer - there may even be a pinata! This night is going to be fun! Be prepared to dance. FREE of charge, everyone is welcome!

After a long couple days from the Encuentro, this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our victories and future struggles!

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Coast Encuentro Schedule!

Denver Fair Food is proud to share with you the schedule for the No Coast Encuentro.

It's going to be an exciting and busy weekend! Join us for a powerful action outside Quiznos HQ, discussions with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the premiere of Mano Vuelta's new film, a racous dance party, making history as we plan the next steps in the Campaign for Fair Food and more!

Register online today: registration form! (en español)

Friday, October 15th
Auraria Campus, North Classroom 1535 [map] except the protest

8am-11am Action preparation
11:30am-1pm "Quit stalling, Quiznos" Protest @ Quizno’s National HQ (17th & Arapahoe) [map]
3pm -4pm Opening Ceremony - Intros, Acuerdos & Logistics
4pm-5pm "From the People, For the People," a discusion with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
5pm-6pm A Participatory History of the Campaign for Fair Food
6pm-7pm DINNER
7pm-9:30 "The Demarest Factor: US Military Mapping of Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico" Presentation and Film Premiere by Simon Sedillo

Saturday, October 16th
Tivoli Student Union, room 440-540
[map] except party

8:30am-9:30am BREAKFAST
9am-11am Solidarity, Anti-Oppression, and Allyship
11:15am-12:15pm The Student/Farmworker Alliance 101: Who we are, how we roll
12:15pm-1:15pm LUNCH
1:15pm-2:45pm Regional Updates and Developement
3pm-5pm Supermarket Campaign Strategizing
5pm-6pm DINNER
9pm-?am PARTY @ the community space (27th st & Larmier) [map]

Sunday, October 17th
Auraria Campus, North Classroom 1535

8:30am-9:am BREAKFAST
9am-10am Quiznos and Chipotle Campaigns Update & Strategizing
10am-11am Break-out Workshops on Media Skillz, Popular Education, Organizing Tools, and others
11am-Noon Bringing It All Toghether: making concrete commitments

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Slavery in your salsa? To establish ‘integrity,’ Chipotle Grill needs to stand against farmworker abuse

Another great article by our friend Sean Sellers looking at what he rightly calls Chipotle's "reckless disregard" for its supply chain...


Chipotle Mexican Grill's public image hinges on its claim to serving "Food With Integrity" -- a campaign that has made it one of the most successful and lucrative chain restaurants in the United States. The "integrity" slogan implies not only high standards for ecological sustainability and animal welfare, but also a deep regard for social justice. You might think that such a company would be at the forefront of efforts to rid the U.S. food system of exploitative working conditions and outright slavery. Yet while Chipotle has instituted bold policies to promote animal welfare in its supply chain as well as to bolster sustainability, it has refused to throw its full weight behind the movement to end forced labor in our agricultural fields.

The situation draws little public attention, but nearly a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, slavery remains a lingering phenomenon in the U.S. Last week in Honolulu, federal prosecutors indicted six people for their role in a massive, multi-state labor trafficking ring. In total, more than 400 farmworkers from Thailand were brought into the U.S. on "guestworker" visas and then held in servitude on farms in 13 states from Hawaii to Florida. Workers' passports were confiscated, and those who protested their abuse were threatened with deportation.

In July, a similar forced labor operation was uncovered in Florida when three farm labor supervisors were indicted for forcing dozens of Haitian nationals to live in wretched conditions and work for little pay. The abuses on the farm likely included sexual assault as one female worker claimed she was raped by her supervisor.

Incredibly, the Department of Justice has successfully prosecuted seven prior agricultural slavery cases in Florida's fields since 1997. These cases have involved well over one thousand farmworkers and resulted in the conviction of 13 supervisors. The enslaved workers harvested tomatoes, oranges, potatoes, cabbage, peas, beans, and other crops for the state's multi-billion dollar fruit and winter vegetable industry.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based farmworker organization, is leading the movement to end modern-day agricultural slavery. They train local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate, uncover, and prosecute existing slavery operations, in addition to working to eliminate the root causes of the problem: farmworkers' structural powerlessness and grinding poverty. Since 2005, the organization has pioneered agreements with nine leading food retailers -- from Whole Foods to Burger King -- to improve farm labor conditions in corporate supply chains. By harnessing the purchasing power of large retail brands, these agreements provide market incentives for Florida tomato growers who respect their workers' human rights and establish market consequences for those who do not. At both the farm and retail levels, the model ensures transparency, verification, and -- crucially -- farmworker participation.

This is where Chipotle Grill comes in. For four years, the company has refused to commit its market influence and symbolic weight to the emerging solution to the abuse and degradation in Florida's agricultural fields. Chipotle has repeatedly spurned the invitation by the CIW to forge an equal partnership and has instead opted for a go-it-alone approach that eschews farmworker participation and transparent oversight. It reads as a public relations response to a human rights crisis.

Chipotle's refusal to work with CIW is particularly puzzling, given the farm worker group's reputation in global human rights circles. For years, this approach has received praise from the world's leading human rights and anti-slavery groups. In June, upon the release of its tenth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the U.S. State Department also weighed in on the group. In a standing room-only ceremony in Washington D.C., Secretary Hillary Clinton recognized the CIW for its persistence and innovations in the fight against human trafficking. It marked the first time a U.S.-based organization received this distinction.

As Clinton explained, ending slavery "is everyone's responsibility." She rebuked "businesses that knowingly profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains" and called on business leaders to "speak out and act forcefully." The CIW welcomed Mrs. Clinton's emphasis on corporate accountability.

The burrito chain's impressive growth has earned it the respect of both fast-food industry heavyweights and stock market analysts. Its "Food With Integrity" mission not only taps into an increasingly influential niche consumer market, but it also yields low-cost, high-profile publicity, including last year's tie-in to the DVD release of the acclaimed documentary "Food, Inc." and a starring role for CEO Steve Ells on the upcoming NBC reality series "America's Next Great Restaurant."

Yet, where Chipotle's thriving enterprise intersects with the lives of Florida farmworkers, the company's inaction undermines its claim of integrity. By spurning the CIW, Chipotle Mexican Grill exhibits the exact "reckless disregard" for its supply chain that Clinton criticized in the fight against slavery. And that is a very risky proposition for a company whose fortunes are tied to selling consumers "ethically produced" burritos.

Sean Sellers is a Food and Society Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and a board member of Just Harvest USA.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Quit Stalling, Quiznos!" Oct. 15, 11:30am

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Protest & Rally in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Friday, October 15, 11:30-1:00pm

outside Quiznos corporate headquarters - 1001 17th St.
17th & Curtis, downtown Denver

In May, Quiznos promised that it would soon be joining in agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve the wages and working conditions of farmworkers who pick tomatoes bought by the company. Months have now passed and it is time to hold Quiznos to its word. Until Quiznos' promises become concrete actions, we will intensify our call for justice!

Join the CIW and allies from around country to demand that Quiznos uphold the human rights of farmworkers in its tomato supply chain!

This action will kick off the "No Coast Encuentro," a regional gathering to strategize and network around the Campaign for Fair Food. For more info or to register, contact or visit

Florida farmworkers who pick tomatoes are among the nation’s most exploited workers: they earn sub-poverty wages, have no right to form unions or to over-time pay, lack traditional employment benefits such as health, sick leave or pensions, and have not received a significant raise in nearly 30 years. At the current rate, a Florida tomato picker must harvest over TWO AND A HALF TONS just to earn the equivalent of minimum wage for a typical 10 hour. In the most extreme situations workers are held in modern-day slavery and forced to work against their will.

In 2001, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers - a grassroots organization of migrant farmworkers based in Florida - and their allies launched the Campaign for Fair Food, calling on retail food industry leaders to address the egregious working conditions and poverty stemming from these companies' high-volume/low-cost purchasing practices. As a result, the CIW has reached historic agreements with McDonald's, Burger King, Subway and others to directly improve farmworker wages and working conditions and set new standards for social responsibility in Florida agriculture.

Despite these breakthroughs, however, Quiznos – who profits from the exploitation of farmworkers due to the sheer volume of its tomato purchases – has yet to take responsibility. While Quiznos has begun discussions with the CIW, those talks continue to drag on without resolution. Visit for more info.
"Deje de quedarse estancado, Quiznos!" 15 de Oct., 11:30am

Manifestación y Concentración en solidaridad con la Coalición de los Trabajadores de Immokalee
Viernes, 15 de octubre, 11:30-1:00pm

Afuera de la sede de Quiznos - 1001 17th St.
17th y Curtis, el centro de Denver

En mayo, Quiznos prometió que iba a ponerse de acuerdo con la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee para mejorar el salario y condiciones del trabajo para los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas, quienes recogen jitomates comprados por la compañía. Han pasado unos meses ya y ahora es el tiempo hacer que Quiznos cumpla su promesa. ¡Hasta que las promesas de Quiznos hagan a ser acciones concretas, intensifiquemos la llamamamiento a la justicia!

¡Júntense con CIW y los aliados de todo el país para exigir que Quiznos defenda los derechos humanos de los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas de su cadena del suministro de jitomates!

Esta acción empezará el “Encuentro Sin Costa,” una reunión regional para hacer estrategia y establecer contactos en la Campaña por Comida Justa. Para más información o para registrarse, póngase en contacto con o visite a

Los/Las trabajadores/as agrícolas de Florida, quienes recogen jitomates, están entre los/las trabajadores/as más explotados/as del país: ganan salarios bajo el nivel de la pobreza, ni tienen derechos para formar sindicatos ni al sueldo por horas extras, faltan beneficios tradicionales del trabajo: como permiso de salud/enfermedad y pensiones, y no han recibido un aumento de sueldo considerable en casi 30 años. En consideración al sueldo corriente, un escogedor de jitomates de Florida tiene que recolectar más que DOS TONELADAS Y MEDIA solo para ganar el equivalente a un salario mínimo por un turno típico de 10 horas. En las condiciones más extremas, trabajadores/as son detenidos/as en condiciones de la esclavitud moderna y son forzados/as a trabajar contra a su voluntad.

En 2001, la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee – una organización con base comunitaria en Florida de los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas y migrantes – y sus aliados/as lanzaron la Campaña por Comida Justa, instaron a los lideres de la industria de comida de venta a que se ocupen con las condiciones extraordinarias del trabajo y la pobreza que sale de las practicas de comprar de estas compañías de grandes cantidades/ bajo costo. Como resultado, el CIW se ha puesto de acuerdo históricamente con McDonald's, Burger King, Subway y otras para mejorar directamente los salarios y condiciones del trabajo para los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas y establecer normas nuevas para la responsabilidad social en la agricultura de Florida.

Sin embargo, a pesar de este avance, Quiznos – quien saca provecho de la explotación de los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas por la pura cantidad de su adquisición de jitomates – todavía no ha asumido responsabilidad. Quiznos ha empezado discusiones con el CIW, pero estas pláticas siguen durando eternamente sin solución. Visita a para más información.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A victory for Denver! CIW, Sodexo reach Fair Food agreement!

In another huge victory in the Campaign for Fair Food, the massive food service provider Sodexo - which contracts with all three of Denver's major college campuses, University of Denver, Regis University and Auraria Campus - has signed an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

We, the people of Denver, should be proud because this is our victory too! Students, both as individuals and members of organizations, from all of Denver's campuses took actions, both big and small, to demand that Sodexo partner with the CIW. The Student Adivisory Committee to the Auraria Board, a student government body composed of representatives from all Auraria's schools, even passed a resolution on the issue which you can read here. We'll give a special shout out to those members of SACAB, UMAS/MEChA de Auraria, the Regis Social Justice Committee, the DU Sustainability Committee, and the UCD Student Government who provided important contributions to this campaign.

Farmworkers continue moving forward toward creating an agricultural industry that does not rely on the exploitation of their labor, and toward a world that does not rely on the exploitation of others. And we are creating that world with them!

Now is the time to redouble our efforts against Denver-based companies such as Quiznos and Chipotle who still give only lip service to the call for human rights and dignity for farmworkers! Now is the time to demand that King Sooper uphold farmworkers' human rights as well!

One final note on Sodexo: just because this campaign is over, and in spite of the statements of Sodexo executives (see below), it does not mean Sodexo is off the hook when it comes to worker rights. Employees of Sodexo in Denver (and around the nation) are organizing for basic protections, decent wages and affordable health care. These workers deserve our support!

Below is the announcement from the CIW explaining the significance of this latest agreement and what's next for the Campaign. Check out the CIW website, for all the latest news.

Sodexo signs Fair Food agreement with CIW!

Big Three foodservice industry leaders now squarely behind growing movement for Fair Food!...

Saying, "Sodexo is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of all workers, whether employed directly by us or by our business partners and suppliers,” Arlin Wasserman, Sodexo vice president for sustainability and corporate social responsibility, announced today that his company has signed an agreement to work with the CIW to improve wages and working conditions in the fields of its Florida tomato suppliers.

Speaking on behalf of the CIW, Lucas Benitez added:

“We are happy to be working with an industry leader like Sodexo to advance fundamental human rights in Florida’s fields. Social responsibility takes a genuine, sustained engagement with workers and growers on the ground, and a determination to support, with increased business, those growers who agree to comply with the highest standards.”

“Together with Sodexo and our other partners, we are building a system of real accountability, with tangible consequences for growers who fail to protect farm workers’ basic rights,” continued Benitez. “It is our belief that such accountability, with worker input, will be the foundation for lasting improvements in the industry.”
See the joint announcement in its entirety here.

This is very big news for the growing Campaign for Fair Food. The foodservice industry -- the companies that, operating largely behind the scenes, manage cafeterias in the nation's grade schools and universities, hospitals and hotels, government agencies and institutions, and more -- is comprised, almost in its entirety, of its three largest members, Compass, Aramark, and Sodexo. With today's announcement, all three of those companies have now signed Fair Food agreements and will be implementing those agreements in their supply chains this coming season. This marks the conclusion of the Student/Farmworker Alliance's remarkably successful "Dine with Dignity" campaign, a campaign that combined energetic campus activism with smart tactics to bring all three industry leaders to the table in just over one year.

With the four largest fast-food companies -- McDonald's, Yum Brands, Burger King, and Subway -- likewise having signed Fair Food agreements with the CIW, the focus now falls squarely on the supermarket industry. And with the exception of Whole Foods, the natural food leader that signed an agreement with the CIW nearly two years ago, it's time now for the major grocery chains to step up and bring their considerable purchasing power to the plate.

Publix, Ahold, Kroger and WalMart -- which alone sells fully 25% of all food sold in US grocery stores -- all pack a very heavy punch when it comes to their market power in the produce industry. And with great power comes great responsibility -- both for the poverty and brutal working conditions from which they have profited for so many years, and for the work of reforming farm labor conditions in their supply chains that lies ahead.

If the goal of a more modern, more humane Florida tomato industry is to be fully realized, the supermarket giants must do their part.

And so, with today's great news from Sodexo, the Campaign for Fair Food completes its first decade -- with the support of the vast majority of the fast-food and foodservice industries now behind us -- and turns to the supermarket industry. This coming season, the battle for the future of Florida's farmworkers will be joined in the produce aisles of your local grocer.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"No Coast Encuentro"

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Friday October 15 - Sunday October 17
Auraria Campus, downtown Denver, CO

Encuentro: a gathering, an encounter
The "No Coast Encuentro" is a gathering of activists and allies from throughout the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, Southwest, Midwest and beyond who are working in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in the fight for farmworker justice. Happening about 5280 ft. above sea level in the Mile High City, the encuentro is a chance for all those far from either coast to get involved in the Campaign for Fair Food - the growing movement of consumers and farmworkers fighting together to end the human rights abuses occurring in the tomato supply chains of the corporate food industry.

Register Online!

Students and young people, community members, people of faith, labor organizers, food justice activists and concerned consumers - whether new to the cause or a seasoned veteran - all are welcome to participate in the encuentro.

REGISTRATION: Please fill out the registration form which will help us plan for the program, food and housing. There is a $10-$50 sliding-scale registration fee. We wouldn't ask for money if we didn't need it. Partial travel scholarships may possibly be available - please let us know if you have exhausted fundraising options and have a scholarship need.

Click here to register online!

HIGHLIGHTS from the weekend will include:
- Education & Dialogue: The inspiring story of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; Nuts and bolts of the Campaign for Fair Food; What does solidarity look like?; and more.
- Skill-building Workshops: organizing; popular education; media; and more.
- Action: The encuentro will kick off with a protest outside Quiznos headquarters at 11:30!
- Strategy Sessions: Strategizing how to win campaigns against Kroger supermarkets, Chipotle, Quzinos and other targets.
- Concrete Plans: We'll make concrete plans for action to bring back to our communities, to work together regionally, and to advance the Campaign for Fair Food.
- Movement Building: building relationships, exploring how our struggles interconnect with other struggles for social justice, and partying!

See the full schedule here!

Friday and Saturday night Entertainment!


The Encuentro will kick off with an action outside the headquarters of Quiznos at 11:30 on Friday - 1001 17th St. (more info here). Encuentro participants are welcome and encouraged to arrive Thursday night if possible. Please plan on arriving by at least 12noon on Friday and plan on leaving no earlier than 1:00pm on Sunday.

Housing & meals will be available for the entire Encuentro (Thursday evening to mid-day Sunday). Most housing will be gender-neutral floor space. If you need a bed or have other special housing needs, please let us know.

Most of the Encuentro will occur on Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. Transportation to and from the airport can be arranged by contacting us.

What to bring:
- Your energy and your willingness to contribute, be challenged, learn, and have fun.
- Your commitment to take the campaign back to your community. Rather than a general activist conference, the Encuentro is a training & strategy opportunity for folks committed to working on CIW-led campaigns over the next year and beyond.
- Musical instruments, art, poetry; flyers & literature (and merchandise) from other struggles to share; washable bowl, cup and utensils.
- Sleeping bag and pillow (plus sleeping pad if needed), towel and personal items; your registration fee (in cash, check or money order), a bit of spending money for the trip (& for t-shirts).
- Respect for the local people and the spaces at which we stay and meet. Many of the spaces we will be occupying are drug- and alcohol-free and you are expected to abide by such rule. Likewise, while there will no doubt be time and space to party, the main purpose of the gathering is to engage in serious work, not to hang out or "get wasted."

Volunteering: Participants will be expected to help with basic tasks to keep our dishes and meeting spaces clean, our meals coming on time, and the weekend running smoothly overall.


The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a grassroots organization of immigrant farmworkers from Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti based in Florida which is fighting to end sweatshop-conditions in the agricultural industry. Farmworkers who pick tomatoes in Florida earn sub-poverty wages, are denied fundamental labor rights and perform dangerous, back-breaking work. In the most extreme cases, farmworkers are held and forced to work against their will in situations of modern-day slavery.

Working with a broad alliance of youth activists, people of faith, labor and community groups around the country, the CIW has led successful campaigns against some of largest food corporations in the world including McDonald's, Yum! Brands, Burger King, Subway, Aramark, and Whole Foods. The hard-fought campaigns have resulted in ground-breaking improvements for the workers who pick tomatoes bought by these giant corporations, directly increasing wages, establishing enforceable human rights standards, and providing a voice for workers in the protection of their own rights. This movement of consumers and farmworkers fighting together to end human rights abuses in the tomato supply chains of major food corporations - known as the Campaign for Fair Food - continues to surge forward.

As the Campaign for Fair Food focuses more on the supermarket industry and regional targets, it is more important than ever to redouble our efforts. As regional allies, our organizing is vital to the success of the broader campaign and meeting face-to-face at the encuentro will lay the ground work for that organizing. In addition to planning strategy and sharpening our organizing skills, we hope to provide a space for discussion and reflection about the meaning of solidarity and the nature of our work in light of interlocking systems of oppression.

The "No Coast Encuentro" is a vital opportunity to become stronger as a movement! With your commitment, we know this weekend will serve not only as an inspiration but as a springboard for effective action for social change throughout the next year and beyond! So come on out, whether you're an "old-timer" in the campaign or just beginning to get involved.

Hosted by Denver Fair Food and the Student/Farmworker Alliance
Contact for more info.
El "Encuentro Sin Costa"
Viernes, 15 de octubre – Domingo, 17 de octubre
Campus de Auraria, el centro de Denver, CO

Encuentro: una reunión, una conferencia
El “Encuentro Sin Costa” es una reunión de activistas y aliados/as de las Montañas Rocosas, las Grandes Llanuras, el Suroeste, el Medio Oeste y más lejos, quienes están trabajando en solidaridad con la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee en la lucha por la justicia para los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas. Sucediendo aproximadamente 5280 pies sobre el nivel del mar en la Ciudad a la Altura de una Milla, el encuentro es una oportunidad para los/las que están lejos/as de cualquier litoral para involucrarse en la Campaña por Comida Justa – el movimiento creciente de consumidores/as y trabajadores/as agrícolas luchando juntos para terminar los abusos en contra de los derechos humanos, los que están ocurriendo en las cadenas del suministro de los jitomates de la industria corporativa de comida.

¡Registrarse en línea!

Estudiantes y personas jovenes, miembros de la comunidad, gente de fe, organizadores/as de trabajadores/as, activistas por la comida justa y consumidores/as preocupados/as – si son nuevos/as a la causa o veteranos/as experimentados/as – todos/as son bienvenidos/as a participar en el encuentro.

REGISTRACIÓN: Por favor, rellene el formulario de registración, lo que nos ayuda en planear el programa, la comida y el alojamiento. Hay un precio para registrar de escala móvil de $10 - $50. No pediríamos dinero si no lo necesitaramos. Es posible que habrá becas para una parte del costo de viajar – por favor, déjenos saber si ha agotado todas sus opciones para recaudar fondos y tiene una necesidad para una beca.

¡Haz clic aquí para registrarse en línea!

Los MEJORES MOMENTOS del fin de semana incluirán:
- Educación y Diálogo: La historia inspirante de la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee; los aspectos prácticos de la Campaña por Comida Justa; ¿Cómo parece la solidaridad?; y más.
- Talleres para desarrollar sus habilidades: organizando; educación popular; medios de comunicación; y más.
- Acción: ¡El encuentro empezará con una manifestación enfrente de la sede de Quiznos a las 11:30!
- Sesiones sobre la Estrategia: Planificar una estrategia para que salgamos victoriosos en campañas contra los supermercados de Kroger, Chipotle, Quiznos y otros objetivos.
- Planes Concretos: Vamos a hacer planes concretos para acción para llevar a nuestras comunidades, para trabajar juntos en nuestra región, y para avanzar la Campaña por Comida Justa.
- Desarrollo del Movimiento: desarrollando relaciones, explorando como son interconectadas nuestras luchas por la justicia social con otras y ¡festejando!


El encuentro empezará con una manfiestación afuera de la sede de Quiznos el viernes a las 11:30 – 1001 17th St. (Más detalles serán anunciados). Los participantes del encuentro son bienvenidos y animados a llegar el jueves por la noche, si será posible. Por favor, planee llegar, por lo menos, antes de las 12(mediodía) el viernes y no planeas salir antes de la 1:00pm el domingo.

Alojamiento y comida serán disponibles para todo el encuentro (desde la tarde el jueves hasta mediodía el domingo). La mayoría del alojamiento será espacio del suelo de género-neutral. Si necesita una cama o tiene necesidades especiales en cuanto al alojamiento, por favor, déjenos saber.

La mayoría del encuentro pasará en el Campus de Auraria en el centro de Denver. Si requiere transporte hacia y desde al aeropuerto, lo puede organizar por contactarnos.

Lo que necesita traer:
- Su energía y buena disposición para contribuir, ser desafiado/a, aprender y divirtirse.
- Su compromiso para llevar esa campaña a su comunidad. En vez de ser una conferencia general para la activista, este encuentro es un entrenamiento y oportunidad para la estrategia para los que son comprometidos/as a trabajar en campañas conducidas por la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee (CIW – según sus siglas en inglés) por el año que viene y pasada a ese año.
- Instrumentos musicales, arte, poesía, folletos y literatura (y mercancías generales) de otras luchas para compartir; plato, vaso y utensilios lavables.
- Saco de dormir y almohada (más un colchón como para camping si sea necesario), toalla y artículos personales; su pago de registración (en efectivo, cheque u ordén de dinero), dinero por los gastos en su viaje (y por playeras).
- Respeto para la gente local y para los lugares en los que quedamos y juntamos. Muchos de los espacios en los que vamos a estar son libres de drogas y alcohol y Ud. es esperado/a a acatar las reglas. También, mientras que habrá sin dudo tiempo y espacio para festejar, el propósito principal de esta reunión es participar en trabajo serio y no pasar tiempo con sus amigos ni emborracharse.

Ser Voluntario/a: Participantes serán esperados ayudar con la tarea básica para mantener nuestros trastes y espacios de reunión limpios, para asegurar que la comida llega a tiempo, y para ayudar en que el fin de semana funciona sin problemas.


La Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee (CIW) es una organización basada en Florida de base comunitaria de trabajadores/as inmigrantes de México, Guatemala y Haiti, la que está luchando para terminar condiciones de fabricas explotadoras en la industria agrícola. Trabajadores/as agrícolas quienes recogen jitomates en Florida ganan ingresos bajo del nivel de la pobreza, son denegados/as a sus derechos fundamentales como trabajadores/as y cumplen trabajo peligroso y extenuante. En los casos más extremos, los/las trabajadores/as agrícolas son detenidos/as y forzados/as a trabajar contra su voluntad en situaciones de esclavitud moderna.

Trabajando con una alianza diversa de activistas jovenes, personas de fe, y grupos de la comunidad y del trabajo por todo el país, CIW ha conducido campañas exitosas contra unas de las corporaciones de comida más grandes del mundo, incluyendo a McDonald's, Yum! Brands, Burger King, Subway, Aramark y Whole Foods. Como consequencia de estas campañas reñidas hemos visto mejoramientos inovadores para los/las trabajadores/as quienes recogen jitomates comprados por estas corporaciones gigantes, directamente aumentando los salarios, estableciendo criterio, lo que es capaz de obligar, sobre los derechos humanos, y proporcionando una voz para los/las trabajadores/as para proteger sus propios derechos. Este movimiento de consumidores/as y trabajadores/as agrícolas trabajando juntos para terminar los abusos en contra de los derechos humanos en las cadenas del suministro de jitomates de las corporaciones importantes de comida – conocida como la Campaña por Comida Justa – sigue hacia adelante.

Mientras la Campaña por Comida Justa enfoque más en la industria del supermercado y objetivos regionales, es más importante que antes redoblar nuestros esfuerzos. Como aliados/as de la misma región, organizar juntos es vital para el éxito de la campaña más amplia y reunir cara a cara en el encuentro allanará el camino para organizar así. A parte de planear estrategia y agudizar nuestras habilidades para organizar, esperamos proveer un espacio para la discusión y la reflexión sobre el significado de solidaridad y la clase de nuestro trabajo en cuanto a los sistemas interconectados de opresión.

¡El Encuentro “Sin Costa” es una oportunidad vital para hacerse a ser un movimiento más fuerte! Con su compromiso, sabemos que este fin de semana servirá no solo como una inspiración, pero también como un trampolín para acción eficaz en cuanto al cambio social por el año que viene y ¡pasada a ese año! Entonces, que venga, sin importancia si sea “abuelo/a” en la campaña o acabe de empezar a involucrarse.

Presentado por la Comida Justa de Denver y la Alianza de Estudiantes y Trabajadores Agrícolas
Ponerse en contacto con para más información.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Action Alert! Stop "Secure Communities"!

Every now and then, a local issue comes up which, despite not directly having to do with the main topic of this blog, is so important that it feels imperative to publicize it. So is the case with now: the Department of Homeland Security is trying to force Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to sign a "Memorandum of Agreement" to implement DHS's "Secure Communities" program in Colorado. The Orwellian-named "Secure Communities" is really a repressive program which will allow the governement to further intrude into our lives and further terrorize those of us who come from immigrant communities. Below is an action alert calling on everyone to call Governor Ritter and encourage him NOT to sign "Secure Communities."


Governor Ritter is considering signing Colorado onto "Secure Communities", a dangerous collaboration program between ICE and the state which will hurt our communities and create greater fear of law enforcement.

"Secure Communities" is a program that allows state and local police to check the fingerprints of an individual they are booking into a jail against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration databases. If there is a "hit" in an immigration database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is automatically notified, even if the person has not been convicted of any criminal act.

CALL GOVERNOR RITTER TODAY and every day this week @ (303) 866-2471

STOP Secure Communities NOW!
It makes us all UNSAFE.


YOU could say: I do NOT agree with Secure Communities. I am calling asking Governor Ritter NOT to sign onto Secure Communities.


Governor Bill Ritter is considering signing onto a program called Secure Communities by July 19.

We have many concerns about this program:

- That it will negatively impact trust between the police and community making us all less safe.

- Unlike SB 90, a bill passed in 2006 in Colorado, Secure Communities does not exclude wrongfully arrested victims or witnesses of crime from being reported to ICE.

- While the state of Colorado can terminate the Secure Communities agreement at any time, Local jurisdictions (such as Denver, Fort Collins, Arapahoe County, etc) have no clear way of opting out of, or withdrawing from, the program if without possibly being in violation of this agreement.

- Cost and impact data from other states has not been tracked by ICE nor shared with the State of Colorado.


Please CALL GOVERNOR RITTER TODAY and every day this week @ (303) 866-2471

YOU could say: I do NOT agree with Secure Communities. I am calling to ask Governor Ritter NOT to sign onto Secure Communities.

See the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Resource on Problems with Secure Communities for more information.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eight, and counting...

Last week, important - and frankly distrubing - news broke. Here's the announcement from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers:

DOJ officials announce yet another prosecution for forced labor in Florida fields, eighth since 1997;

Gainesville Sun: "... dozens of Haitian nationals were the victims of human trafficking... when they were delivered to rural Alachua County and forced to work on area farms."

From yesterday's Gainesville Sun ("Three charged with human trafficking on Alachua County farms," 7/6/10):

"... Federal prosecutors allege in the indictment that once the Haitian workers arrived in Miami they were denied access to their own passports and visas, effectively preventing them from going anywhere other than the farms where they were to work.

The indictment also alleges that the workers were underfed, "supplied substandard housing and few beds, and denied necessary medical care, causing the workers to suffer chronic hunger, weight loss, illnesses and fatigue."

At least one worker told investigators about being forced to work in fields recently sprayed with chemicals so harsh they left her with permanent scars.

According to the indictment, those who complained about the conditions were threatened with being deported and became fearful of the three co-conspirators." read more
Perhaps even more remarkable than the charges was the response of the grower, vegetable farmer Steven Davis of Alachua County, to the possibility of losing the services of his longtime farm labor manager, Cabioch Bontemps. Despite the gravity of the charges against Bontemps, here's what Davis told the court (from the same Gainesville Sun article):

"... During Bontemps' court hearing, his longtime employer, Alachua County farmer Steven Davis, urged Mickle to release Bontemps because he is an integral part of the Steven Davis Farms pea and bean harvesting operations - - and this is the peak season for harvesting.

Davis identified his operations as being headquartered at 1102 N.W. County Road 233 and said that Bontemps has been a part-time worker for 14 or 15 years and an important full-time worker for the past two-and-a-half to three years. According to Davis, the Haitians currently working on the 2,000 to 3,000 acres he is farming this year all report to Bontemps.

"All these people (Haitian workers) look up to him," Davis said "All these people respect him. All these people worship him."

The federal indictment also identified Bontemps as, "the man who raped one of the workers and told her not to say anything or he would make sure she would not be allowed to return to the U.S. in subsequent years."

Also telling about this latest prosecution is the fact that it took place in the H2A, or "guestworker," context.

Under the H2A program, agricultural employers bring foreign workers into the country under temporary visas to work exclusively on the petitioning employer's farm. Guestworkers remain in the country only at the pleasure of their employer, they cannot change jobs, and they are obliged to return to their home country once their employer is finished with them, or face deportation. This arrangement places a tremendous amount of power over workers' lives in the hands of their employers, and in agriculture, this has frequently resulted in cases of extreme exploitation.

The CIW has long decried the potential for abuse inherent in the guestworker program. Here's an excerpt from a 2004 statement on a possible expansion of the H2A program under then-President Bush:

"... Not surprisingly, guestworker programs have been tried before, and they have failed miserably, often with tragic consequences. Between 1942 and 1964, for example, millions of Mexican workers were imported under an agricultural guestworker program (known as the ”Bracero” program) to work temporarily under contract to US growers and ranchers. The program was scuttled in 1964 after years of scandalous labor abuses. Europe, too, experimented with guestworker programs, which also ended in failure years ago.

Abuses such as those that eventually killed the Bracero program are inevitable, as the guestworker relationship is an extremely coercive form of labor relations. As a guestworker, not only does your employer hold your livelihood in his hands, but he also holds your visa, your very right to be in this country. With so much power concentrated under the employers’ control, it is hardly surprising that an inordinate number of recent prosecutions for modern-day slavery and forced labor have involved guestworkers, with cases ranging from New Hampshire to American Samoa. Indeed, the President’s proposal could well undermine efforts to fight slavery more broadly, as giving employers such wide control over their workers’ lives is a proven recipe for exploitation." read more
News of this latest slavery prosecution serves as a timely reminder of the dangers intrinsic to any plan to expand the current agricultural guestworker program (and in the current debate over immigration reform, there are many such plans in the works).

But, more broadly, it also underscores the urgent need for broad-based labor reforms in Florida agriculture. Stories of extreme exploitation are so tragically commonplace in Florida's fields that, rather than hear them as a call to action, we run the risk of growing inured to the abuse, each case of forced labor losing a measure of its ability to spark outrage and action.

We cannot let that happen. We must redouble our efforts to make this latest prosecution - now the eighth since 1997 - the last prosecution for forced labor in this state.

And food industry leaders - companies like Publix, Ahold, Quiznos, Sodexo, Kroger, and WalMart - must also, finally, heed this call, recognize once and for all the overwhelming case for change, and commit to work with us to bring about a more modern, more humane agricultural industry in Florida.