September 05, 2005 – Coalición Presente
On March 8th, 2005, In Louisville, Kentucky, the Vice President of Yum brands, the corporation that owns Taco Bell, shared a podium with a group of migrant farmworkers who pick tomatoes which end up in Taco Bell’s food. The press conference was officially to announce a pay raise for the workers, and a promise for better working conditions in the fields of South Florida. But it was also a defining moment for a greater struggle. A 4 year long boycott of Taco Bell, an unprecedented strategy of building alliances with students and religious groups around the county, and a focus on a specific corporate entity had proved that the movement for global justice could organize without a charismatic leader, could allow groups around the country to work with autonomy, and most importantly, could win. But the victory over Taco Bell hasn’t resulted in equality for the Mexican, Guatemalan, and Haitian tomato pickers in the town of Immokalee, just as their problems didn’t begin with Taco Bell. Today, as the United States celebrates Labor Day, FSRN’s Shannon Young and Andrew Stelzer bring us the story of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, their historic victory over the largest restaurant owner in the world, and their struggle to end modern day slavery in the fields.