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Workers Petition Burger King

About 100 demonstrators allied with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a grassroots farmworker organization, presented 85,000 petition signatures at the company’s headquarters in Miami on Monday. The farmworkers want Burger King to agree to pay them an additional penny per pound of tomatoes they pick, a move that would increase their wages by about 75 percent.

Burger King has refused the demand, although Yum Brands and McDonalds earlier agreed to it. A Florida paper reported that Steve Grover, a company vice-president and spokesman, had been sniping at the coalition on line, using his daughter’s email address as an alias. Grover called the Coalition leaders "bloodsuckers" and "the lowest form of life" and claimed they were using the campaign to line their own pockets. There’s absolutely no evidence to back up this claim, which may be why Grover made it in such an exulted form. "Burger King has the obligation to clarify if Mr. Grover’s words represent the position of the company," Gerardo Reyes, a Coalition member, said in a speech. "If it does, they should come down and say it to our faces instead of hiding like cowards in the shadows of the Internet." Grover came down from the company’s gigantic brown-marble building to address reporters at a similar demonstration last year. On Monday, however, the executives stayed indoors. It was awfully hot outside.

As of this writing, Burger King hadn’t responded to my phone calls.

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