30 November 2007
Have it your way, fuck workers over
Dear Reggie Brown, VP, Florida Tomato Growers Exchange,
Tighten up, you narrow minded asshole. The backstory: In 2005, a variety of coalitions united to improve labor rights for thousands of Floridian and Californian migrant workers that for years had labored under multiple exploitative conditions, including working 10 hour days without bathroom breaks, receiving less than the minimum wage, rampant sexual abuse, etc.
To save its image with the American consumer, Taco Bell and McDonalds caved to consumer pressure to address working conditions over which they had control and agreed to pay one penny extra per pound of tomatoes. This represented a pittance in the overall cost structure of the companies. In terms of a cost of living adjustment for the small percentage of migrant workers who received the wage adjustment (and the amount they are able to reinvest in their local economies, Reggie), this amounted to a laughable raise, but it was something. Now these hard won demands are at risk because, of all things, the corporate "powerhouse" Burger King's refusal to pay the extra penny per pound.
Brown, who effectively represents a component of Big Agro, and emboldened by the King's idiotic stand, equates anyone who opposes Burger King's position as un-American because of the nationality of many workers. Dammit Reggie, is there any charge that has held less water in recent history as something being un-American? If screwing immigrants that provide the labor for the employers you represent is American, then count this Eagle Scout out the next time you say the pledge of corporate allegiance. Do the massive agro subsidies that make Latin American farm products wholly price uncompetitive, forcing mass immigration to los EEUU, constitute an "American values" set of policies? Just how little are we willing to pay for shit food that arrives in paper wrappers from the backs of exploited labor?
Florida grows over 80% of the tomatoes we eat between Thanksgiving and New Years. TUR readers, perhaps a perfect way to say thanks to the workers that will ultimately get screwed by corporate greed and anti-immigrant policy is to resist the urge to have it your way. I know few of us patronize fast food joints anymore, but any little reduction helps. PS> if you think isolationist immigration policies are good for the American economy, you're not Bill Gates.
Also, you can send Reggie an email at email@example.com