while t.o. anti-globalization types watch closely, tomato pickers in southern Florida are kicking off a "Taco Bell Truth Tour" September 13 as part of a boycott against the fast food chain. Spearheaded by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in Florida, the 10-city bus tour, bolstered by No Logo author Naomi Klein, hopes to win improved labour conditions and picking rates from the growers who supply Taco Bell.
"The tomatoes Taco Bell buys for its tacos are produced in what can only be described as sweatshop conditions," says the CIW's Lucas Benitez.
But the Irvine, California-based company says it should not be the one targeted. "We don't set the wages for growers," says Laurie Gannon.
At Taco Bell Canada, Denny Post admits that his company also gets its tomatoes from Florida.
"I don't know if we source from Immokalee, but we get tomatos from Florida. I can't say we're not a part of it. We try to source locally as much as possible with meat, cheese, etc, but with produce we need a consistent product," she says.
Klein says "They found a point in the economic system where they could have some leverage -- in Taco Bell's brand image," she says.
Chris Ramsaroop, a Toronto farmworkers organizer, says the working conditions of tomato labourers here aren't much better.