Churches applaud pact betweenBurger King and farm workers: Victory for Immokalee Workers

July 1, 2008

Burger KingCorporation has reached an agreement with a migrant workers’ advocacy group that is backed by U.S. churches. The agreement will raise wages for tomato pickers by one cent per pound.

TheCoalition of Immokalee Workers, which has received financial support from the U.S.Conference ofCatholic Bishops and other faith groups, announced the agreement with the hamburger chain on May 23 in Washington.

The penny-per-pound raise could add about $20 to workers’ daily wage of $50, according to the coalition.

Long Island bishop William Murphy, chair of theCatholic bishops’ committee on domestic justice and human development, called the agreement “an important step toward greater justice for farm workers in Florida.”

Mainline Protestant groups, including the NationalCouncil ofChurches and the PresbyterianChurch (U.S.A.), have also supported the Immokalee, Florida–based coalition.

The agreement “stands as a plumb line of justice, granting a needed wage increase, establishing zero tolerance for illegal acts and involving farmworkers in the creation and enforcement of a strong code of conduct for suppliers,” said PCUSA stated clerkClifton Kirkpatrick, who lauded Burger King’s role in negotiations.

Similar deals have been reached with McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, the parent of Taco Bell. –Religion News Service