Emily (wordsmeanlittle) wrote in ypsl,

to anyone in the Chicagoland area...and beyond!

Major Rally: April 1, 2006, Chicago, Illinois

Visit the CIW website, www.ciw-online.org, for more details, or email
us at workers@ciw-online.org!

SUMMARY: Farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and
their allies will travel by caravan from Immokalee, FL, home of one of
the largest farmworker communities in the country, to Chicago, IL,
home of the world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's.

The caravan will stop in over a dozen cities along the way --
including Louisville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Ann Arbor,
Madison, and South Bend -- spreading the truth about the sweatshop
conditions in the fields where McDonald's tomatoes are picked and how
McDonald's is collaborating with Florida tomato growers to roll back
gains won by Immokalee workers in the Taco Bell boycott victory.

On April 1st ­ the fifth anniversary of the launch of the successful
Taco Bell Boycott ­ the caravan will be joined by supporters from
throughout the region for a major rally in Chicago, where they will
call on the fast-food giant McDonald's to work with the CIW and help
establish real labor rights for the workers who pick tomatoes for
McDonald's suppliers. Specifically, workers and their allies will be
calling for:

1) The right to a fair wage, after more than 25 years of sub-poverty
wages and stagnant piece rates;

2) The right for farmworkers to participate in the decisions that
affect their lives, after decades of sweatshop conditions and
humiliating labor relations;

3) The right to a real code of conduct based on modern labor
standards, after McDonald's and its suppliers unilaterally imposed a
hollow code of conduct comprised of minimal labor standards and
suspect monitoring.

The Taco Bell boycott victory on March 8th, 2005, established
important new precedents for corporate social responsibility in the
fast-food industry. But since that time, McDonald's has taken a path
that threatens to undercut the wage gains won by farmworkers in the
Taco Bell Boycott and to push workers back away from the table where
decisions are made that affect their lives.

McDonald's clearly knows how to do better. The fast-food giant
recently announced an agreement to purchase only fair-trade coffee for
over 650 of its restaurants, paying a reasonable premium over market
price so that the workers who pick their coffee can receive a fair
wage and enjoy humane labor conditions. Yet McDonald's refuses to pay
even a penny more per pound for its tomatoes so that Florida
farmworkers can earn a better wage. Likewise, McDonald's requires its
toy suppliers in China to respect internationally recognized labor
rights, including the right to overtime pay and the right to organize,
but refuses to require its tomato suppliers in Florida to respect
those same fundamental rights.

In the face of McDonald's steadfast refusal to treat farmworkers with
respect, demand truly humane labor standards of its suppliers, and pay
a fairer price for tomatoes in order to address farmworker poverty ­
poverty which has helped pad McDonald's profits for more than 50
years ­ the CIW is traveling to McDonald's backyard with a clear
message: Nothing less than real rights will do!

Visit the CIW website, www.ciw-online.org, for more details on how you
can help farmworkers from Immokalee speak truth to the power of
McDonald's! - Thanks, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
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