Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"The great mountain...created together with each of our individual grains of sands": bikes, kites, picket lines, progress and more

On Tuesday, May 25th, Denver Fair Food in conjunction with other groups including the Student/Farmworker Alliance, Fight With Tools, Let Us Rise, and Colorado Jobs with Justice held a powerful action in order to send a strong message to the Denver-based subsandwich franchise Quiznos that we demand they work in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to ensure fair wages and uphold the human rights of farmworkers who pick tomatoes used by the company.

Please see our account of the exciting, fun-filled and moving event:
Part 1: Bike Parade!
Part 2: Sending our message to Quiznos Stores . . .
Part 3: Rally at Quiznos Corporate Offices
Part 4: Flying Kites for Human Rights!

We know that our actions are having a deep impact on Quiznos. Leading up to the protests, Quiznos began positive discussions with the CIW and publicly Quiznos is expressing a desire to join in a Fair Food agreement with the CIW similar to those that the CIW has already has with eight other corporations.

Check out these articles to hear Quiznos explain its desire to cooperate with the CIW:
"Quiznos seeks fair wage for tomato pickers amid protest"
"Protesters gather at Quiznos Denver Headquarters in support of farmworkers"

We are truly encouraged by Quiznos' promising words. However, we must make clear that until words become actions and expressed desires become concrete commitments, we will not rest. Indeed, our strength and our numbers will only grow. We will be closely following the progress of talks between the CIW and Quiznos and are determined to see the process through to a sucessful agreement that improves the wages and working conditions of farmworkers.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers sent us a statement to be shared with all those gathered outside Quiznos' headquarters Tuesday. We'll end by sharing it here as well:

Dear Friends,

Please receive greetings from the members of the CIW. You all in Denver encourage us and fill us with hope and the spirit of struggle knowing that this movement is made up of deeply committed people and allies like you.

Without a doubt the executives at Quiznos are beginning to understand that. Thank you for all of the actions you have taken and will continue to take to bring these two corporations [Denver-based Quiznos and Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill] to the table to sign agreements like those we already have with eight other corporations. We are certain that one day soon they'll be working with us.

As you know, Quiznos is closer than ever to adopting the principles of Fair Food. That's why today's action is so important and why it's more important now than ever to keep up the pressure so that for once and for all they understand that the situation faced by workers is urgent and that we won't abide the violations of farmworkers' human rights any longer.

Today you are making history, history that will be recorded by future generations and that will inspire young people by showing them that by working together, fighting together, and marching together we can forge a more just, more humane food industry.

The future is ours. It's up to us to make it a future full of hope in which one day not so far away thousands of families will enjoy the fruits of this movement for fair food. When the day comes that the twisted roads are straightened and justice reaches every worker at his job, that day we'll see that farmworkers have arrived at the top of the great mountain that we created together with each of our individual grains of sand. When that happens we will all be full of joy and we'll let the world know that together another world is truly possible.

Thank you
-- the Coalition of Immokalee Worker

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