Fair Food Activists call on Chipotle to Respect the Rights of Farmworkers
In protest of Chipotle’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program to advance human rights in its supply chain, NESRI partner, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), organized a huge Chipotle Day of Action. On July 25th, 2012, conscientious consumers and fair food activists from twenty five cities across the country were joined by international allies from London, in their demands that Chipotle live up to its ethical image and respect the rights of farmworkers who pick the tomatoes used in Chipotle burritos. On this day of action, activists protested at their local Chipotle restaurants, calling on Chipotle to commit to a Fair Food Agreement with the CIW.
Chipotle has built its more than 1250 stores and nearly $3 billion revenue on an image of serving “Food with Integrity”. The company claims to focus on ensuring the products used at Chipotle “are grown, made, and shipped without exploiting people”. Yet Chipotle does not act in support of the basic rights of farmworkers. For six years, Chipotle has refused to sign a Fair Food Agreement, which would secure a wage increase and core labor protections for workers in the fields of Florida. Tired of Chipotle’s relentless “chipocrisy”, activists are urging Chipotle to sign a Fair Food Agreement without further delay and help put an end to farmworker exploitation.
In solidarity with CIW’s ongoing campaign against Chipotle, the Community/Farmworker Alliance (CFA) in NYC hosted two days of action targeting Chipotle. On Tuesday, July 24th members of CFA joined with over one thousand low wage workers as part of an action to call on corporations and employers to respect their employees and pay them a living wage. As part of the action, marchers gathered at Chipotle demanding farmworker justice. The CFA also organized a local event the following day for the CIW’s International Day of Action. On July 25th, over 50 community members and activists joined with the CFA and CIW to picket in front of the Union Square Chipotle store in NYC. Protestors marched in front of the restaurant with brightly colored signs chanting, “"Chipotle, shame on you! Farm workers deserve rights too!". The CFA engaged Chipotle customers to hold up protest signs and get their pictures taken for the CHIPOCRISY tumblr [To see the pictures, click here]. Activists at the event delivered hundreds of signed postcards asking Chipotle to do the rights thing. Oscar Otzoy, a member of CIW and farm worker in Immokalee, Florida, spoke at the action about how it was time for Chipotle to live up to its “Food with Integrity” slogan and support the human rights of workers who pick their tomatoes. "With [the Fair Food Program], we have achieved changes," Otzoy said. "We want Chipotle to listen to the voice of the workers."
For more information on CIW’s Day of Action against Chipotle, see CIW’s report on their website and the civileats.com story; For coverage of the CFA event in NYC, see the Gothamist article on the action and the Workers Independent News broadcast.