Immigrant Workers in Florida Pick Tomatoes, Pennies

By Malena Amusa Mar 27, 2007

Organized farmworkers are teaming up to battle McDonald’s. Here’s a taste of the article: “Unhappy Meal”

Dreaming of home is all too common for the 2 million migrant farmworkers that tend to American farms each year, given the brutal working and living conditions that they tolerate. In Florida, most workers earn somewhere between 40 and 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that hasn’t increased since 1978. Working 10-12 hours a day, each person must pick between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds of tomatoes to earn Florida’s minimum wage. A 2004 study conducted by the Institute for Food and Development found that "Three out of four U.S. farmworkers earn less than $10,000 annually, and three out of five families live below the federal poverty line."

Further, Jordan Buckley, an activist adds:

It is McDonald’s who authorizes the suffering of farmworkers to secure their profits. No one else in McDonald’s supply chain — the series of business deals moving a tomato from the misery of the fields to your Happy Meals — walks away so handsomely, and we youth have taken notice, thanks principally to the brave denunciations of farmworkers themselves.