Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taco organizations!

The people who claimed that a blogger should differentiate himself or herself by adopting a unique voice will probably regret that advice. Why? Because this is the second post this month in the Empoprises empire which is inspired by the Doctor Orange song "Taco Taco Taco." (The first post, which appeared in Empoprise-MU on July 21, can be found here.)

Those few of you who have listened to the song "Taco Taco Taco" know that at a certain point in the song, Doctor Orange suddenly sings/speaks the lyric

taco organizations

That happens to be my favorite lyric in the entire song, and it got me to thinking - are there any taco organizations that contribute to the good of humankind?

Well, there's the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, one of many organizations founded by corporations to do good in the community. Since teens make up an important portion of Taco Bell's customer base, it makes sense that they'd pursue philanthropy in that area.

Taco Bell Foundation for Teens is committed to addressing the alarming number of high school dropouts in the U.S. by providing at-risk youth with mentors and real-world experiences that will motivate them to stay in school and graduate. We leverage Taco Bell Corp.’s passion, creativity and relentlessness to the cause as well as its customers, franchisees, employees and partners to support organizations that are crucial to ending the dropout crisis.

And if you want to join Taco Bell in helping a teen to graduate, you can donate here.

But for every taco organization, there is an anti-taco organization. If you visit this web page, you will see extensive details on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' "Boycott the Bell" campaign.

You and your friends -- your fellow students, neighbors, co-workers, or members of your church -- are the very heart of this campaign!

If you have come to this site because you want to help make FAIR FOOD a reality, you can use the tools below to bring the Taco Bell boycott to your community.

Why boycott the Bell? This 2002 item explains:

The CIW's Anti-Slavery Campaign is a worker-based approach to eliminating modern-day slavery in the agricultural industry. In the past six years, the campaign has uncovered, investigated, and collaborated in the prosecution of three multi-worker, multi-state slavery operations based in Florida, and consulted for the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice on two others.

The campaign has resulted in freedom for more than a thousand tomato and orange pickers held in debt bondage, historic sentences for various agricultural employers, the development of a successsful model of community-government cooperation, and the growth of an expanding base of aware and committed worker activists....

...the CIW believes that the ultimate solution to modern-day slavery in agribusiness lies on the "demand side" of the US produce market -- the major food-buying corporations, like Taco Bell, that profit from the artificially-low cost of US produce picked by workers in sweatshop and, in the worst cases, slavery conditions. With this in mind, the Anti-Slavery Campaign works hand in hand with the CIW's national Taco Bell Boycott in an effort to leverage the fast-food industry's vast resources and market influence as major produce buyers to clean up slavery and other labor abuses in its supply chain once and for all.

Now if you go to the Boycott the Bell page, you might notice that it hasn't been updated in a while. There's a good reason for this - the boycott ended in 2005.

March 8, 2005 (IMMOKALEE/LOUISVILLE) – In a precedent-setting move, fast-food industry leader Taco Bell Corp., a division of Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), has agreed to work with the Florida-based farm worker organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), to address the wages and working conditions of farmworkers in the Florida tomato industry.

Taco Bell announced today that it will fund a penny per pound “pass-through” with its suppliers of Florida tomatoes, and will undertake joint efforts with the CIW on several fronts to improve working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields. For its part, the CIW has agreed to end its three-year boycott of Taco Bell, saying that the agreement “sets a new standard of social responsibility for the fast-food industry.”

But by December 2005, another boycott had taken effect:

After wrestling practice, I went to Taco Bell for my regular after practice meal. However, to my surprise, as I asked for my usual Bean Burrito Especial (along with my Double Decker Taco), the cashier informed me that Taco Bells nation-wide no longer sold the 99-cent, half-pound Bean Burrito Especial....

I find it necessary to gain support for an all-out National Taco Bell Boycott to teach this fastfood giant not to mess with their customers. From now on starting at 8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, December 27, 2005, I will no longer consume the products produced or sold by the Taco Bell Corporation until the Bean Burrito Especial is re-instated as a member of the Value Menu at the original price of 99 cents. I now feel it is not only my mission, but also my responsibility to gather as much support as possible for this national issue. I cannot possibly accomplish this task on my own. Only with the support of thousands of Americans can I hope to one day travel to a Taco Bell and be able to eat my beloved Bean Burrito Especial for a reasonable price of 99 cents. The time is now! Join the National Taco Bell Boycott by signing below and no longer traveling to Taco Bell for future services....

While this petition has received 71 signatures (so far), there is no word whether the United Methodist Church, former President Jimmy Carter, and other progressives have endorsed this critical movement. But if this so inspires you, then you need to "person" the barricades and join the revolutionary rallying cry:

What do we want?
When do we want it?

And if you miss the Bean Burrito Especial, here's a list (compiled in 2006) of other menu items that Taco Bell has discontinued, including the Bacon Cheeseburger Burrito and the BLT Soft Taco. To my knowledge, neither of these items are championed by any leading taco organization.
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