(LOS ANGELES) – Hundreds of Teamsters and allies from Working Partnerships USA and Jobs with Justice protested outside Chipotle Mexican Grills across the country last week to educate consumers about food safety issues with Taylor Farms, a supplier to Chipotle.
Teamsters and community allies educated consumers about salad processing giant Taylor Farms, and its documented and ongoing food recalls, safety and health violations and worker abuses. The protests took place in Los Angeles, San Jose, Sacramento, Lakewood and Livermore, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Boston, Mass.
“Hundreds of workers at Taylor Farms’ plant in Tracy, Calif., are working in unsafe conditions,” said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “When these workers came together to form a union and bargain a contract with Taylor Farms, the company responded with firings, intimidation and threats of deportation.”
Taylor Farms is being prosecuted for over 50 violations of federal law that protects workers’ rights. Protestors demanded that Chipotle live up to its proclaimed values and ensure that its supplier Taylor Farms treat its workers with integrity.
In addition, last year Cal/OSHA cited the plant for 44 violations of federal and state worker safety regulations.
“Chipotle has had numerous food safety problems, with hundreds of customers and employees becoming ill from norovirus and E.coli in the last year,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, Director of Organizing and Civic Engagement at Working Partnerships USA. “As a company, they should be especially concerned with food safety issues at Taylor Farms.”
Taylor Farms has recalled more than 150,000 food items in recent months. An outbreak of E.coli was linked to celery processed at Taylor Farms in Tracy, infecting 19 people in seven states.
“Between the food recalls, worker injuries and multiple chemical spills, Taylor Farms has some serious management problems,” Noel Fernandez said. “The abuse and lack of respect for the workers whose labor earns the company millions is especially appalling.”
“We call on Chipotle to live up to its pledge of ‘Food with Integrity’,” Aloise said. “Chipotle must not cut and run. It is Chipotle’s responsibility to ensure that its supply chain upholds its values of integrity, respect and sustainability.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.