COALITION OF IMMOKALEE WORKERS PETITION CAMPAIGN:
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an organization of farm workers and supporters in the southeastern USA who are attempting to improve the slave labour conditions of workers in those fields. They have initiated a national petition campaign to demand that Burger King and other food industry giants work with them to improve farm labour conditions. Here is their appeal...
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has launched a National Petition Campaign to end modern-day slavery and sweatshops in the fields! The CIW is launching a national petition drive to demand that Burger King and other food industry leaders work with the CIW to improve the wages and working conditions of the workers who pick their tomatoes, and join with the CIW in an industry-wide effort to eliminate modern-day slavery and human rights abuses from Florida's fields. The petitions will serve as notice that those who sign are "prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so."
The campaign comes on the 200th anniversary of the US ban against the importation of slaves, and echoes key strategies of the early abolitionist movement that helped hasten the end of slavery in the 19th century.
Much more than an e-campaign, this petition is a living,tangible organizing movement that we encourage our allies to bring to life in their own communities. We are calling on Fair Food activists across the country to collect signatures in schools, on campuses, and at community gatherings. We will turnin the petitions in a creative mass procession at Burger King headquarters in Miami later this spring.
Take Action on this Issue:
- Visit http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/l7zJ6iS1TPlD/ to read the petition and sign electronically today; -
Visit http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/lpzJ6iS1TPlK/ to learn more about the campaign and how to bring it to your campus and community!
TEXT OF PETITION:
WHEREAS, there is an ongoing human rights crisis in Florida's fields, including:
* poverty wages, rooted in an antiquated piece-rate pay system that hasn't changed significantly in nearly 30 years;
* long hours without overtime pay when work is available,unemployment and transience when it is not;
* physical abuse and wage fraud by crew leaders, supervisors,and growers;
* damage to body and soul from back-breaking labor, with no employment benefits such as sick days, paid leave, health insurance, or pensions;
* retaliation against workers who protest or organize to alleviate these inhuman conditions;
* and, most shamefully, modern-day slavery, with six successful federal prosecutions of farm labor operations for servitude in Florida over the past decade, and a seventh just initiated, involving well over 1,000 workers and more than a dozen farm employers;
WHEREAS, by leveraging their high-volume purchasing power to extract the lowest prices possible, Burger King and other food industry leaders profit from and play an active role in creating the miserable conditions in Florida's fields;
WHEREAS, Burger King and other food industry leaders have not only refused to join Yum! Brands and McDonald's in working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve farm labor conditions, but have actually sought to reverse gains made by workers in agreements with those corporations;
WHEREAS, private equity firms including Goldman Sachs, Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and others, which are principal shareholders in Burger King and other food industry leaders,have made significant investments in the restaurant industry over the past decade, and have ignored calls by farm workers and consumers for farm labor reform, while continuing to draw billions of dollars in private profits from their investments;
THEREFORE, I add my name and voice to those of countless consumers calling upon Burger King and other food industry leaders to immediately join with the CIW in efforts to end exploitation in the fields and modern-day slavery in the 21st century. I am also prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now,and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so. Specifically, I call on Burger King and other food industry leaders to:
1. Pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes and ensure that the increase is passed on to tomato pickers in the form of increased wages; and
2. Work with the CIW to establish and enforce a human rights-based code of conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor, to ensure fair and safe working conditions.