ATLANTA, April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Coalition of Immokalee
Workers (CIW), and McDonald's USA (NYSE: MCD), working with McDonald's
produce suppliers, today announced plans to work together to address wages
and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick Florida tomatoes.
Beginning in the 2007 growing season, McDonald's USA, through its
produce suppliers, will pay an additional penny per pound for Florida
tomatoes supplied to its U.S. restaurants. The increase will be paid
directly to farmworkers harvesting tomatoes purchased by McDonald's.
The CIW and McDonald's produce suppliers will work together to develop
a new code of conduct for Florida tomato growers as well as increase
farmworker participation in monitoring supplier compliance. Farmworkers
will also participate in investigating worker complaints and dispute
resolution. Additionally, the CIW and McDonald's produce suppliers will
work together toward developing and implementing a credible third-party
"I welcome McDonald's commitment to work with the Coalition of
Immokalee Workers to improve the lives of the workers who supply their
13,000 U.S. restaurants with tomatoes," said former United States President
and founder of the Carter Center, Jimmy Carter. "This is a clear and
welcome example of positive industry partnership. It demonstrates also
McDonald's leadership in social responsibility and CIW's importance as a
voice for farmworker rights. I encourage others to now follow the lead of
McDonald's and Taco Bell to achieve the much needed change throughout the
entire Florida-based tomato industry." Representatives from the Carter
Center, based in Atlanta, helped facilitate the agreement with the
Coalition and McDonald's.
"Two years ago, our agreement with Yum Brands marked the first step
toward a distant dream of ensuring human rights for workers in Florida's
fields," said Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. "Today,
with McDonald's, we have taken another major step toward a world where we
as farmworkers can enjoy a fair wage and humane working conditions in
exchange for the hard and essential work we do every day. We are not there
yet, but we are getting there, and today's agreement should send a strong
message to the rest of the restaurant and supermarket industry that it is
now time to stand behind the food they sell from the field to the table."
"We have always respected the CIW's commitment to enhancing conditions
for the workers," said J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, Senior Vice President, Supply
Chain Management, McDonald's USA. "We've made progress with our suppliers
through our existing Florida tomato grower standards, which hold the
growers accountable to standards higher than the industry, but that was
only the beginning. We believe more needs to be done. McDonald's produce
suppliers are required to purchase tomatoes only from those growers that
have adopted our standards."
To foster further improvements throughout the tomato industry, the CIW
and McDonald's produce suppliers, with McDonald's support, will also work
together toward the development of a third-party mechanism that would carry
out similar monitoring and investigative functions at the industry level.
The third-party mechanism will be developed in such a way as to be
expandable to include the participation of other willing members of the
foodservice and retail food industry that buy Florida tomatoes.
CIW has ended its two-year campaign against McDonald's and pledged to
work with the company and its suppliers to drive systemic and sustainable
changes in the Florida tomato industry.
SOURCE McDonald's USA