Michigan students hunger strike to support farm worker justice



Central Michigan University has joined three other campuses in a growing U.S.-wide hunger strike to cut university contracts with Taco Bell, a fast-food franchise. Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, which owns several other fast-food restaurants chains and has 30,000 franchises internationally.

Taco Bell uses tomatoes picked by farmers under exploitative conditions. Tomato pickers routinely work 12-hour days and would have to pick 2-tons of tomatoes to earn fifty dollars in a day. Workers have not received a raise since 1978 and continue to earn between 40 and 45 cents for each 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick.

The hunger strike comes just one week after a protest at the Mount Pleasant Taco Bell, and a series of hunger strikes by students at Nortre Dame University and Grand Valley State University.

The hunger strike will run concurrently with a strike at the University of Florida. CMU students will also spend the week of April 12 in a tent city.

The campaign against Taco Bell has been led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida-based group of tomato pickers. Their Taco Bell Truth Tour is an annual tour raising awareness of the conditions of tomato pickers and to build support for their struggle.

[Students Against Sweatshops GVSU | Coalition of Immokalee Workers | Michigan IMC]



linkmeister 11.Apr.2004 06:46

A Correction needs to be made on the feature about the national hunger strike against taco bell - University of Florida is the fourth school - NOT Florida State.

So, why don't they stop working there?

tato 16.Apr.2004 01:33

Seriously, if the wages are so bad and the work is so hard and unfair, why don't they quit working there? Are they being forced against their will to work there?

Everyday, they make the choice to go to work picking the tomatoes, I would guess that they see it as the best way for them to make money to feed themselves and their families. What is the option, for Taco Bell to pay some other people a little more for their tomatoes and put these people out of a job?

Students on a hunger strike

Winds of change 27.Apr.2004 15:44

I think it's wonderful what these brave students are doing, from the ivory tower of academia. I sincerely hope they they do not cave a single minute. Mother Gaya willing, they will last this out until they can no longer survive, that will show them!