Migrant Farmworkers and Allies Win Victories!
compiled by Jessica Maxwell
¡Sí Se Puede!
On May 23, 2008, just one year into the Burger King campaign, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and allies brought one of the world's largest fast food corporations to the table to increase pay, improve conditions, and get on a path of respect and justice for some of the most heavily exploited people in the US. Many activists first heard about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, based in Florida, when they kicked off their 2001 campaign and boycott of Taco Bell (and other fast food chains owned by Yum! Brands). With the support of allied student groups, CIW led a successful four-year campaign, forcing the food giant to negotiate improved conditions. They next targeted McDonalds, bringing them to the table in half the time - two years - before a boycott even had to be launched. Now Burger King has conceded, with an historic press conference and signing ceremony at the US Capitol. After much effort on their part to discredit the Coalition, allies, and CIW's agreements with other corporations, Burger King signed on to an agreement that will extend Fair Food principles to the second-largest hamburger chain in the world.
Visit www.ciw-online.org or the Student/Farmworker Alliance (www.sfalliance.org) for more.
Sanctuary in Syracuse
On June 8, members of Plymouth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, became the first congregation in Central NY to vote to become a "Sanctuary Church." Accepting the New Sanctuary Movement pledge requires a participating congregation to covenant to:
take a public, moral stand for immigrants' rights;
reveal, though education and advocacy, the actual suffering of immigrant workers and their families under current and proposed legislation;
protect immigrants against hate, workplace discrimination, and unjust deportation.
Plymouth Church is located in downtown Syracuse and currently provides office space to the CNY Workers' Rights Center. The vote was 57 in support, 7 in support with reservations, and no one abstaining or opposing the resolution. Plymouth had prepared for its vote for a year through forums, Bible study, conversations in homes, and reflections in worship. The church is part of an interfaith group of congregations, religious groups, and social justice committees at various stages of discernment. A public covenanting ceremony with those prepared to add their names to the pledge will take place in September.
Contact the Detention Taskforce for more information about how your community of faith or allied organization can support this work: Pat Rector, CNY Workers' Rights Center, 474-4821.