Indianapolis, Ind. (DNS) – March 11, 2005 - Disciples joined church-based groups and others around the country in applauding the agreement that ends a four-year boycott of Taco Bell restaurants. Yum ! Brands, parent company of Taco Bell Corp., announced on March 8 a detailed plan to improve working conditions and to increase the income of farm workers in Florida tomato fields.

This announcement came as the Truth Tour, a week of protests from March 6-12 by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their allies at the Louisville, Ky. headquarters of Yum.

The boycott was launched in 2001 by CIW, the Florida-based farm worker organization, to protest the inhumane working conditions and low wages of farm workers in the Florida tomato industry.

“This boycott is over and it has been a great victory for tomato pickers in southern Florida,” expressed Arnold Nelson, president of Disciples Home Missions, which has helped coordinate boycott efforts on behalf of the denomination.

According to CIW, Taco Bell “sets a new standard of social responsibility for the fast-food industry” by agreeing to “a penny per pound payment as demanded by the farm workers and agreeing to improve working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields.” Taco Bell president, Emil Brolick, adds that “with this agreement, we will be the first in our industry to directly help improve farmworkers’ wages.”

Disciples joined the Taco Bell boycott in October 2003 after a resolution adopted by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) during its General Assembly in Charlotte, N.C.

Disciples Home Missions, the division that coordinates mission in North America, was instrumental in monitoring the boycott and in organizing Disciples participation.

“While this successfully concludes Disciples Home Missions' commitment to the General Assembly regarding this resolution, it does not end our concern for the unfair working and living conditions of farm laborers in south Florida and across North America,” added Nelson.

Disciples Home Missions hopes to establish a long-term relationship with CIW so that all Disciples can continue to be involved in this important ministry.

Read the joint press release issued by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Taco Bell at: http://www.discipleshomemissions.org.

To learn more about this boycott and other injustices faced by farm workers, go to: http://www.ciw-online.org.



Kenethia Jackson

Communication Ministries


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