The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) announced today that they have reached an agreement with McDonald’s to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers supplying tomatoes to the restaurant. According to the agreement announced Monday, the CIW, McDonald’s, and its suppliers have agreed to:
- Pay a penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes for McDonald’s.
- Develop a stronger code of conduct based on the principle of worker participation.
- Undertake a collaborative effort to develop a third party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating workers’ claims of abuse.
The agreement marks the second major victory for CIW in their ongoing campaign to improve the livelihood of farmworkers. In 2005, the CIW won a similar victory against Taco Bell’s parent company, Yum Brands. Organizers with the CIW pledged that this victory is another step in a long struggle towards improving farmworkers rights, with CIW member Lucas Benitez stating “Today, with McDonald’s, we have taken another major step toward a world where we as farmworkers can enjoy a fair wage and humane working conditions in exchange for the hard and essential work we do every day. We are not there yet, but we are getting there, and today’s agreement should send a strong message to the rest of the restaurant and supermarket industry that it is now time to stand behind the food they sell from the field to the table.”
The CIW’s campaign has relied not only on their own organizing work, but also the organizing done by student allies across the country through the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA) and widespread community support. At the time of the announcement, the CIW and the SFA were in the midst of the McDonald’s Truth Tour 2007 and was visiting communities around the country to build support for the campaign. The CIW is continuing with plans to host a massive convergence this weekend in Chicago.
The CIW will now set its sites on Burger King, who in February of 2007 rejected a partnership offer by the CIW and instead suggested CIW members should consider getting jobs at Burger King restaurants.