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Taco Bell strike is a leverage tactic

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 22, 2004

I am writing to dispel some myths which have been following the nationwide boycott against Taco Bell, with particular attention to Bucky Schafer’s Viewpoint article from April 21.

First, I would like to apologize for any misinformation that Schafer or others may have received concerning the boycott. I would hope that such misinformation is not being disseminated by Notre Dame students, such as the student quoted by Schafer: “if Taco Bell just raised the price of each taco just two cents the extra money would more than raise the pickers’ salary to above a living wage.” The actual argument is: If Taco Bell would pay one penny more per one pound of tomatoes it bought, and institute a clause that it be passed directly to the farmworker who picks the tomatoes, it could almost double his or her wages. Right now pickers are paid 40 to 45 cents per 32 pound bucket they pick. If Taco Bell defrayed this cost to the consumer it would result in an increase of no more than of a penny in the price of one chalupa. This is vastly different from the misconstrued example of Schafer’s article, which would mean that each taco contains two pounds of tomatoes – we all know Taco Bell’s not that generous, even to its clients. To learn more about the boycott, please go to: www.ciw-online.org.

The Taco Bell Boycott is founded in the ideal that the consumer ultimately has the power to demand justice in the production of our food. We are not out to close down Taco Bell, as Schafer’s article claims. Rather, our boycott is a leverage tactic, used to give voice to the consumers and farmworkers of our country. It is a call for corporations like Taco Bell – part of the largest restaurant conglomerate – to wake up. I encourage all to reconsider the potential of the word “boycott.” Addressing the Montgomery bus boycotts, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our concern would not be to put the bus company out of business, but to put justice in business.” Our concern is not to put Taco Bell out of business, but to put justice in business.

Dana Stovall


Breen-Phillips Hall

April 22