Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Call Chipotle and Demand Fair Treatment and Pay For Farmworkers!

(From a Demonstration at the Chipotle Headquarters Last Summer)

"The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

We strive to build our strength as a community on a basis of reflection and analysis, constant attention to coalition-building across ethnic divisions, and an ongoing investment in leadership development to help our members continually develop their skills in community education and organization.

From this basis we fight for, among other things: a fair wage for the work we do, more respect on the part of our bosses and the industries where we work, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers' rights, the right to organize on our jobs without fear of retaliation, and an end to indentured servitude in the fields. "

There is currently a campaign against Chipotle for failing to live up to their promise of "food with integrity," which is a promise I had read about in the past and was a reason I enjoyed eating at their restaurant. Their website details what they mean by "food with integrity":

"Food With Integrity" isn't a marketing slogan. It's not a product line of natural and organic foods. And it's not a corporate initiative that will ever be finished or set aside to make room for other priorities. It's a philosophy that we can always do better in terms of the food we buy. And when we say better, we mean better in every sense of the word- better tasting, coming from better sources, better for the environment, better for the animals, and better for the farmers who raise the animals and grow the produce.

The hallmarks of Food With Integrity include things like unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed, sustainable, nutritious, naturally raised, added hormone free, organic, and artisanal. And, since embracing this philosophy, it's had tremendous impact on how we run our restaurants and our business. It's led us to serve more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant in the country, to push for more sustainable practices in produce farming, and to work with dairy suppliers to eliminate the use of added hormones from their operations."

While I can respect their desire to use animals that are treated "more humanely" and their use of organic, fresher produce, how are the farmers being treated any better by your company if they are having to work for substandard wages? For a company that praises itself to be one of the best and most philanthropic, it seems like there's already much you can do to help those who pick the tomatoes and lettuce for your own restaurants.

American Rights at Work and CIW currently have a campaign working to put pressure on Chipotle in order to improve the conditions for their farm workers. From the ARAW website:

"Since we first launched our campaign, more than 10,000 activists have urged Chipotle to stand up for exploited Florida farmworkers. People around the country have been calling on Chipotle to live up to its "food with integrity" promise -- and now they've taken their demands to the streets, protesting in front of film screenings sponsored by Chipotle.

Can you support the efforts of these demonstrators by making a quick toll-free call to Chipotle's corporate headquarters? Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Call Chipotle toll-free at 1-888-899-0017.
  2. Tell the person who picks up that you want Chipotle to live up to its "food with integrity" promise by standing up for Florida farmworkers. You can also add:
    • The Florida workers who pick Chipotle's tomatoes have one of the worst jobs in America, with sub-poverty wages, back-breaking labor, and unimaginable exploitation.
    • It's time for Chipotle to join in a formal agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers -- a widely respected farmworker organization and a leader in the field of human rights.
    • Partnering with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will ensure the workers who pick Chipotle's tomatoes are treated fairly and paid a living wage.
    • IMPORTANT: After you call, click here:and tell us how it went."

    I just made my call. It takes maybe 1 whole minute of your time. A very easy and effective way to show your support!

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