Immediate Witness
Immediate Witness for Farm Workers and Fair Food
We carry on with our "Ethical Eating" study and Green Team will be presenting the draft below at the Oct 4, 2009 Congregational Meeting for your consideration.  (Edited to add: This draft was unanimously approved and First Unitarian endoreses Alliance for Fair Food.)
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Oct 4, 2009 Action of Immediate Witness (Draft)
Because: Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part;

Whereas: Systematic abuse occurs in the agriculture industry, including sub-poverty wages, no right to overtime pay, and no right to organize; major produce-purchasing corporations profit from the artificially low costs of produce picked by workers in conditions that sometimes become slavery and these conditions are antithetical to Unitarian Universalist Principles;

Whereas: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida farm workers’ organization, has assisted the U.S. Department of Justice in uncovering, investigating and successfully prosecuting six of seven cases of present-day slavery in Florida 's fields, freeing over 1,000 farm workers;

Whereas: In the CIW has reached historic agreements with Yum Brands, the owner of Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway and Whole Foods, to establish a code of conduct with zero tolerance for slavery and better wages and conditions for tomato harvesters;

Whereas: The CIW, along with many others including members of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando, are presently working to achieve the same changes at Chipotle and Publix;

Whereas: Unitarian Universalist congregations including First Unitarian, individual Unitarian Universalists and the UUA Office of Advocacy and Witness have assisted the CIW by providing housing, meals, financial support, letters and campaign action support; and

Therefore, be it resolved: The First Unitarian Church of Orlando, along with the Unitarian Universalist Association, urges members
  •  to call for federal legislation outlawing the abuses described above and guaranteeing minimum wages and the right to organize;
  • to call for greater support and implementation of the worker protection functions of the Department of Labor;
  • to explore means of imposing the same standards on all growers and suppliers, wherever located, from whom the United States imports food or food products;
  • to join the Alliance for Fair Food in calling on large produce purchasers to help the CIW enact enforceable codes of conduct against slavery and abuses in the fields;
  • to improve the sub-poverty wages faced by farm workers for decades; and
  • to work with the Alliance for Fair Food in and the CIW in calling upon restaurant and grocery corporations to end slavery and sweatshops in the fields