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Archive for Sunday, April 2, 2006

Farmworkers pressure McDonald’s for higher wages

April 2, 2006

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— Farmworker advocates crowded the sidewalk outside McDonald's flagship restaurant Saturday, demanding better wages for the people who pick the tomatoes used by the fast-food giant.

Police officers kept the drive-thru open at the busy downtown intersection as several hundred protesters pounded on drums and held signs that read 'I'm Not Lovin' It' - a play on McDonald's advertising slogan.

Rolando Sales, 26, said workers who must fill 125 buckets to make $50 a day are being exploited so that McDonald's can purchase tomatoes at a low price.

The rally was organized by the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which represents the largely Hispanic work force.

The coalition is urging consumers to pressure Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp. to support a campaign to boost wages for more than 3,000 Florida pickers. They're proposing a penny per pound increase in pay.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said Saturday the company was aware of the coalition's issues and had contracted an independent research group to study the farmworkers' conditions and the potential impact of their proposal.

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