Apparently not being on top in the burger business has its advantages. It seems that while McDonald’s and Taco Bell have both agreed to pressure their suppliers into paying tomato pickers a higher (and therefore more fair) salary, Burger King has decided that slavery is a pretty good business model after all.
I’ll clarify: Recently a group of farm workers – tomato pickers, whose working conditions and wages can only be described as abusive – successfully pressured McDonald’s and Taco Bell into an agreement whereby their wages would be increased to 77 cents per 32-pound basket of tomatoes from a previous rate of 45 cents. The average salary for a tomato picker in Florida, where most of the industry’s tomatoes are grown, amounts to about $13,000 annually.
Burger King has threatened to “fine” growers who comply with the new agreement $100,000, claiming that the pay raises are “un-American”. The Florida Tomato Growers’ Exchange, a cooperative representing most of the state’s growers, has also threatened fines and “noncompliance penalties” for the same illogical, self-serving reason.
The truth is, they don’t want to pay their workers a fair wage for the work they do because American big business can’t let go of its 19th-century era dependence on slave labor. Americans want cheap goods, services and food, and to keep costs down, employers must choose between fair wages and exploitation.
The workers who pick the tomatoes, oranges, and other foods you eat often live and work in conditions that would land you in prison for years if you did it to a dog. This is yet another national disgrace.
I have not eaten from Burger King in years. Their food is vile and I find their commercials disturbing to say the least. I could care less whether BK stops making the Whopper, and if I ever woke up “with the King” I’d kick his plastic ass. I will be boycotting Burger King and any other corporation that capitulates to the abusive lies of the Florida Growers Exchange, until they join the 21st century and start paying their workers a fair wage.
For more detailed reporting on this matter, I suggest reading these articles:
Tomato Pickers’ Wages Face Obstacles
20 Protest at Burger King over Pickers’ Pay Rate