May 24, 2016
By John Quinn, LaborPress USA
Washington, DC – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been protesting at Chipotle locations nationwide demanding that Chipotle hold its produce supplier Taylor Farms accountable for egregious health and labor violations.
The protests are taking place at more than 12 locations across the U.S.Chipotles across the West have their tomatoes and peppers supplied by Taylor Farms, a California-based produce company. Taylor Farms has drawn scrutiny for numerous food recalls. A recent salmonella outbreak in two states has been linked to a Taylor Farms bagged kale salad product.
Over the past five years, Taylor Farms has had more than 20 food recalls for problems such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli. In November's 2015, Taylor Farms products containing celery and sold at Costco and other retail outlets were recalled for possible E. coli 0157:H7 contamination.
At Taylor Farms' plant in Tracy, Calif., the company has also committed safety and health violations. Recently, the company settled extensive labor rights violations and illegal termination of workers.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently levied dozens of citations and more than $95,000 in fines against Taylor Farms and its temp agencies in response to a toxic chemical spill and other safety problems at the Tracy facility. The October 2015 spill sent 20 workers, including pregnant women, to the hospital. Last year, Cal/OSHA also cited Taylor Farms for 44 other safety and health violations.
"We will continue to protest Chipotle for allowing its supplier, Taylor Farms, to have a total disregard for consumers' and workers' health and safety, as well as workers' rights," said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Joint Council 7 in California. "Chipotle claims to serve 'Food With Integrity', but where's the integrity when it turns a blind eye to its supplier's behavior?"
"I hope Chipotle understands how serious this situation is for the workers at Taylor Farms," said Maria Leon, a worker at Taylor Farms in Tracy. "Every single day the company demands we work in dangerous conditions. My coworkers were vomiting and fainting after the chemical spill in October, and there have been more chemical spills since then. Management fired people when we tried to exercise our rights in the workplace, and many people are afraid to speak up. Our actions today demonstrate that we will not stop until there is justice at Taylor Farms."