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.


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