CIW and Burger King Reach Human Rights Agreement

May 24, 2008 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

CIW-Burger King Signing AgreementAn historic victory for human rights was reached yesterday. On Friday, May 23, the Coalition of Immokolee Workers (CIW) signed an agreement with fast food giant Burger King to work together for better working conditions in the fields. In addition to the requested increase in pay to tomato pickers, an additional penny per pound, the agreement includes stipulations for terminating BK’s buyer relationship with any vendor that fails to pass along the payment to the workers, fails to obey basic worker rights and provide safe, dignified working conditions, where some workers have been living and working in slavery conditions. The signing took place on Capitol Hill with the presence of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and follows several months of scandal where Burger King executives were accused of publishing libelous comments about the CIW on blogs.

As for what’s next, Lucas Benitez of the CIW said:

There are companies — like Chipotle in the restaurant world and Whole Foods in the grocery industry — that already make claims to social responsibility yet, when it comes to tomatoes, fall far short of their lofty claims. It is time, now, that those companies live out the true meaning of their marketers’ words.

And there are companies — like Subway and WalMart — that, by the sheer volume of their purchases, profit like few others from the pernicious poverty of workers in Florida’s fields. They, too, must step up now. After eight years of this campaign — and the very public commitment of the three largest fast-food companies in the world to the principles of Fair Food — they can no longer claim ignorance of the problem nor can they say that the solution is not possible.

Will we see campaigns against companies Subway, WalMart, Whole Foods and Chiplote in the future? The New York Times reports:

Lucas Benitez, of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, said he was thankful that Burger King agreed to the wage increase, and he said his group would now set its sights on other restaurant chains and grocery retailers who continue to pay wages his group regards as substandard.

See a previous post about the CIW testifying at a recent senate hearing regarding the slave conditions that workers live under.

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Entry filed under: Food Politics. Tags: , , .

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