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Marchers Ask Chipotle to "Wrap a Living Wage" into Their Burritos

April 3, 2008

Denver, CO - How about some human rights and a living wage with that burrito? Supporters of Florida farmworkers who pick tomatoes for an annual wage that is well below the poverty line marched on the headquarters of Chipotle on Wednesday, demanding that the restaurant chain commit to working for better conditions and higher wages for farmworkers. Robert McGoey, of the Denver Fair Food Committee, says workers are paid less than 50 cents per bucket of tomatoes picked.

"At that rate, you have to pick two tons of tomatoes to earn just $50 in a day."

Chipotle says it has suspended purchases of Florida tomatoes while it investigates the situation; McGoey calls that a "hypocritical" move, made to deflect media attention.

"Running away from the scene of a crime doesn't make you any less guilty. It simply abdicates the responsibility Chipotle has, to make sure that the food in its products is not picked by exploited workers."

The same coalition behind Wednesday's march has already established agreements with the parent company of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut to leverage those chains' influence in demanding better working conditions. McGoey says Chipotle has been unresponsive to similar requests, however. Although Chipotle claims to no longer buy Florida tomatoes, it has not offered information about the sources that currently supply tomatoes to the chain.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CO