Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    Taco Bell and the TOMATO PEOPLE

    Honestly, do we really have to wonder or question WHY ILLEGALS are WANTED IN THE USA BY BIG CORPS??? Do we really question what Bush means when he spits out......."They do jobs that Americans won't do?"

    Well, would YOU work for this?

    Support the Taco Bell Boycott
    The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) called off the Taco Bell boycott!

    Just as the 2005 Taco Bell Truth tour was arriving in Louisville , Kentucky , home of Taco Bell's parent company. They've won EVERY demand made as a requirement for ending the boycott campaign, with a legally-binding document signed by Taco Bell. (Posted March 16, 2005)

    Farmworkers picking tomatoes for Taco Bell's supplier, Six L's, Packing, Co., Inc., are paid 40 cents for every 32-pound bucket they pick. That is the same per bucket rate, or "piece rate", paid in 1978. At that rate, workers must pick and haul 2 TONS of tomatoes to make $50 in a day.

    All this for no right to organize, no overtime pay, no health insurance, no sick leave, no paid holidays, no paid vacation, and no pension.

    Taco Bell has refused to discuss these conditions with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, even though they could double the picking piece rate paid to farmworkers by agreeing to pay just one penny more per pound for the tomatoes it buys from Six L's.

    Learn more about the conditions that tomato pickers face, Taco Bell's refusal to take a stand for workers' rights, and what you can do to help. More

    Recent Action Alerts
    Florida Tomato Pickers Still Reap 'Harvest of Shame'
    Washington Post Article from Feb 28, 2005. (Posted March 6, 2005)
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Taco Bell has refused to discuss these conditions with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, even though they could double the picking piece rate paid to farmworkers by agreeing to pay just one penny more per pound for the tomatoes it buys from Six L's.
    The key to this is the above quote. I have posted at length about this in the past. Simply put the wage to the "picker" is the primary determinant of food costs. The primary "cash" cost you are paying for is transportation and the various middleman taxes and services.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    The PBS show NOW covered this story on this last Friday... The show began with this line :
    You see, the food in places like this [fast food restaurants] isn't just fast, it's cheap... The prices are possible in part, because of the contributions of some of the lowest paid laborers in our society: farm workers. Give me a few minutes of your time and I'll show you how 1 extra cent per pound for tomatoes harvested for fast food restauants like these can transform lives.
    So, this implies that we're benefitting from the low wages... In other words, the company is passing the savings onto us, the consumer...

    Yet, during the course of the show, it turns out Taco Bell is able to double the pay of these tomato-pickers at an annual cost of only $100,000 (which is very little to a large company like Taco Bell).

    Also, I read somewhere that Taco Bell said this would not result in higher prices of fast food.

    So, it seems like it's only the corporation that's benefitting from the low wages.

    I saw another episode of NOW over a year ago, in which a woman who had perviously worked in some overseas sweatshop was looking through garments in a clothing store while talking to Bill Moyers... She said, "sometimes, it makes me sad when I see a shirt for $20 in a store, because I know the person who made it probably only got paid a nickle."

    So, to NOW's credit, they did imply that cheap overseas labor doesn't necessarily result in lower prices for the consumer... Yet, when it comes to illegal-immigrant labor, it's very rare that this possibility is even acknowledged.

    The whole reason that we have illegal immigration is to keep prices down for corporations... If the workers got paid a fair wage with good working conditions and benefits, then the corporations wouldn't need large numbers of illegal immigrants... They would just hire the people who are already here.

    Or perhaps, they would automate with tomato-picking robots : ... obots.html

    I also saw on the NOW website an interesting statistic which is that 25% of today's jobs pay less than the real (inflation-adjusted) minimum wage in the 1960s.

    Between 1940 and 1970, the wages of the poor went up 3% per year, the middle class up 3%, and the rich up 3%... That was a fair economy... We had low immigration and low outsourcing of manufacturing & service jobs.

    Between 1970 and today, the wages of 90% of Americans have been flat for the last 30 years (after adjusting for inflation.).. This was a period of high immigration and high outsourcing...

    NOW reported in this last episode that "tomato pickers had not gotten a raise in 30 years."..

    As much as I like NOW, my guess is that we're not going to get an episode anytime soon on how high illegal immigration hurts the residents who are already here.

    The last week's show didn't even mention the words "illegal immigration" or "undocumented workers.".. Instead, they said this (paraphrasing):
    The farm workers come from faraway places in search of a better life - many from Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti.
    Also, they said :
    Benitiz came here from Mexico, expecting hard work, but decent pay, but he found something different - not only were the wages barely enough to live on, but he found a climate of intimidation, fear, and violence."
    This reminds of "The Jungle" - a book written in 1906 :
    As a writer Sinclair gained fame in 1906 with the novel The Jungle, a report on the dirty conditions in the Chicago meat-packing industry... Jurgis Rudkus, the protagonist, is a young Lithuanian immigrant... He arrives in America dreaming of wealth, freedom, and opportunity. ... Gradually Jurgis' optimistic world vision fade in the hopeless "wage-slavery" and in the chaos of urban life." ... istory.htm
    In 1907, a California socialist named Upton Sinclair published a novel called The Jungle... The novel described, in harrowing detail, the lives of a family of Lithuanian immigrants in Chicago at the beginning of the century... In sometimes overwrought prose, the book described the various indignities and atrocities inflicted upon immigrants: child labor, long hours, low wages, unpaid work, firings with no notice and no severance pay... What struck the deepest chord in the public, though, was probably the description of the working conditions: cold, filthy, smelly, loud, and unsafe:

    There were the men in the pickle rooms, for instance, where old Antanas had gotten his death; scarce a one of these that had not some spot of horror on his person... Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing a truck in the pickle rooms, and he might have a sore that would put him out of the world; all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by the acid, one by one. ... Worst of any, however, were the fertilizer men, and those who served in the cooking rooms. These people could not be shown to the visitor, - for the odor of a fertilizer man would scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yards, and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting, - sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!
    Number's USA has on their site a recent quote from a Congressman : ... erplan.htm
    We might see more and more occupations suffer the fate of meatpacking... A few decades ago, meat packing jobs were some of the highest paying blue collar jobs around... I think we can all remember Sylvester Stallone working in a Philadelphia meat packing plant as he trained to take on Apollo Creed... But today, meat packing jobs are not only low-paying, but they are also some of the most dangerous jobs in America... Not coincidentally, this has been accompanied by a large inflow of immigrant workers.

    March 24, 2004
    Statement of the Honorable John N. Hostettler (R-IN),
    Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration,
    Border Security and Claims
    (John Hostettler is a Republican who represents the 8th District of Indiana, which includes Evansville and Terre Haute.)
    High immigration brings with it low pay, low benefits, poor working conditions, no vacation, etc ...

    Another interesting fact in the NOW show was that companies like Taco Bell always pretend like they have no control over their contractors when it comes to labor issues... And yet :
    From quality control to delivery schedules, companies like Yum often dictate suppliers policies... They even had a code of conduct about how to treat farm animals... But they had nothing about respecting farm workers.
    (Yum includes Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut, KFC, A&W)

    If companies can do all this, then perhaps, they could adopt a policy about contractors / suppliers respecting immigration laws.

    Yet, I suppose it's good that the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) were able to double their wages... Even though I don't think they should be here, I also don't think corporations should be able to exploit them... Furthermore, if corporations have to raise wages/benefits/etc, then in theory that will make the illegal-labor trade less desirable... If someday the workers ever get fairly compensated, then there will be no need for the illegal-labor trade at all.
    "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." (Thomas Paine 1776 "Common Sense") "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind." ("Common Sense")

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    PBS has an interesting page here :

    Today's premier authority Philip L. Martin, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California at Davis, has tracked the ebb and flow of the migrant farmworker population. He estimates that during the 1920s there were some two million migrant farm workers in the United States, in the 1940s, about one million. With mechanization the numbers dropped to about 200,000 in the 1970s. However, Martin says that even with the difficulties of counting the migrant population accurately he believes that there are 800,000 to 900,000 working in the United States today.
    The U.S. population has grown from around 200 million in the 1970s to 300 million today, but still, that doesn't explain why there are 4x more migrant farmworkers today.

    Crunching the numbers, this means that in the in the 1970s, there was 1 migrant farmworker for every 1000 U.S. residents... Now, it's 3 per 1000... Are we less productive?... Did the Ag-Biz decide "mechanization" was a bad idea?... If we were able to get tomatoes to the grocery store 40 years ago, then why do we need so much more labor today?... (Perhaps, labor is cheaper than machinery or perhaps the Ag-Biz has chosen a more labor-intensive mix of crops?)
    Due to continued activism by Chavez and his union in 1975, California passed the California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which guaranteed farm workers' right to organize. In recent years surplus labor has eroded the UFW's gains and today few farm workers are organized.
    When asked about the low wages, supporters of "illegal immigration" suggest that unions are the answer... Yet, I believe what happens when you have unlimited immigration is that corporations are able to use the resulting "surplus labor" to break unions... ( I recall that the Congressman Luis Gutierrez implied unions were the answer on a Lou Dobb's show.. Guitierrez is one of the sponsors for the McCain/Kennedy Amnest Plan. )

    The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) was successful, but it took about 10 years... Taco Bell buys less that 1% of all tomatoes sold in Florida... The CIW only made progress when they discovered from a newspaper article in the year 1999 that their tomatoes were being sold to Taco Bell... (Generally, contracts between buyers and growers are kept secret.).. I'm sure the businesses have learned their lesson and will do a better job keeping these contracts secret.

    The Department of Labor's National Agricultural Workers Survey, 2000 gives a snapshot of today's migrant workers. Among their findings are the following:
    93 percent are foreign-born, up from 88 percent 10 years ago.
    65 percent are here illegally, up from 62 percent 10 years ago.
    "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." (Thomas Paine 1776 "Common Sense") "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind." ("Common Sense")

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    North Carolina
    The upshot of all this is the continuing degradation of the living standard of all Americans. When artificially cheap labor impacts a market, either by way of Chines imports or imported illegal labor, prices and wages decline. Quality usually suffers and the long term effect is a cheapening of our economy (when did you last buy anything worth a crap made in China?) and a decrease in living standards.

    Just ask construction workers in major cities who have been displaced by cheap illegal labor. Doing work that Americans won't do? Give me a break, Americans will do any work, as long as it pays enough.
    When we gonna wake up?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts