Community members from across the country demand justice for Farmworkers
DENVER – On Tuesday, May 25th, community members and consumers from across the country will convene in Downtown Denver at Quiznos national headquarters to urge the restaurant franchise to reach an agreement with Farmworkers that would substantively improve working conditions and wages in Florida’s tomato fields. Participants will join in a Bike Parade to Quiznos restaurants across the city and will then convene in Downtown Denver at Quiznos headquarters to fly kites in the spirit of Farmworker justice. The action 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. Local supporters of the action include Denver Fair Food, Student Farmworker Alliance, Flobots.org and Let Us Rise.
"We are closely following the dialogue between Quiznos and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and are determined to see the process through to a successful agreement that improves both working conditions and wages for the Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for Quiznos," said Seth Donovan organizer with Flobots.org.
Local supporters of the Farmworkers are encouraged by positive conversations that Quiznos has had with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. However, they say that their campaign will continue until the Farmworker requests for a partnership are reached.
Robert McGoey from Denver Fair Food states, "It’s time Quiznos takes responsibility for remedying the abysmal conditions in its tomato suppliers operations. Only by working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers can Quiznos accomplish this." Ashara Ekundayo, Sustainability Director at The GrowHaus further states, "As a movement, we take direction from Farmworkers because we believe they have the best wisdom to create better lives for themselves. Today, we ask Quiznos to join us!"
These actions will take place in concert with the White Flag Warriors Institute, a weeklong series of trainings, workshops and events sponsored by Flobots.org. The institute is designed to provide tools, skills and analysis for community members across the country looking to engage in actions for positive social change.
Who: Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Denver Fair Food, Student Farmworker Alliance, Flobots.org, Let Us Rise, and Consumers locally and from across the country.
What: Bike Parade & Kite Flying Rally for Food Justice
When: Tuesday, May 25th, Noon-2pm
Bike Parade starts at Noon, Kite Flying Rally begins at 1pm
Where: Bike Rally starts at Flobots.org Community Space at 2705 Larimer St, Denver at Noon Rally is at Quiznos Headquarters at 1001 17th Street, Denver starting at 1pm
For more information: DenverFairFood.blogspot.com or www.ciw-online.org
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 prosecuted seven slavery operations - involving over 1,000 workers - in Florida's fields since 1997.
In 2005, the CIW 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 CIW to address the labor abuses endemic to Florida agriculture. The CIW has reached similar agreements with McDonalds, Burger King, Subway and other leading food service corporations.
The CIW's 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 CIW has received extensive national and international media coverage since 2001.