On Saturday, Calvin College’s Social Justice Coalition organized a protest outside of the Subway in Eastown to urge the company to take a stand in support of higher wages for farm workers.
Subway is the latest target of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)–a farm worker organization out of Florida that has an impressive record of winning concrete gains for farm workers. Subway is the latest target of the group, which has already won victories against Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Burger King. Subway is a major purchaser of tomatoes from Florida and as such, the CIW is calling on the company to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Currently, farmworkers picking tomatoes sold to Subway earn an average of $10,000/year and are paid virtually the same piece rate (40-50c per 32-lb. bucket) as they were in 1978.
Throughout the CIW’s history, college students such as Calvin College’s Social Justice Coalition have played a key role in the organizing by acting in solidarity with the CIW, as they are one of the target demographics for fast food companies.
Photos from the protest (with faces blurred in accordance with MediaMouse.org’s photo policy):
There is a long history of student organizing in solidarity with the CIW in Grand Rapids, including a protest last year at Burger King organized by the same Calvin group. The now defunct Grand Valley State University Students Against Sweatshops also organized for several years against Taco Bell.