Migrant farmworkers are responsible for putting food on most of our tables, but they remain among our country's most vulnerable groups. Farm laborers endure low pay and dangerous job conditions, while serving as an easy target in times of anti-immigrant backlash.
This precarious position makes victories like that enjoyed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers last week all the more significant. In a major campaign targeting fast food giants Burger King and McDonald's, the Florida-based group succeeded in convincing the golden arches to pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes their farmworkers pick. As the Miami Herald reported:
A decision by McDonald's on Monday to pay a penny more per pound for its Florida-grown tomatoes puts the heat on Burger King to do its part to improve the lives of migrant workers.
Both fast-food chains had been the subject of campaigns by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers that urged the companies to help guarantee fair wages and working conditions for the laborers who pick the tomatoes in Florida fields.
Under the terms of the agreement with McDonald's announced at the Atlanta-based Carter Center, a third party will verify that the additional penny per pound will go directly to the migrant workers who harvest McDonald's tomatoes. McDonald's and the workers will also work together to develop a workplace code of conduct that suppliers must follow.
As the Herald notes, this is the group's second major victory; the first came in 2005, when they persuaded Taco Bell to sign a similar agreement.
Next up: Burger King (pdf), which the Coalition will continue to raise awareness about through their 2007 Truth Tour: Making Fast Food Fair Food.
For more about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their campaign, visit here.