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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 five of six cases
of present-day slavery in Florida 's fields, freeing over 1,000 farm
Whereas: In January 2008, a federal Grand Jury indicted farm
labor contractors on charges of conspiracy and holding workers in involuntary servitude and peonage, alleging that
employers kept tomato pickers in locked U-Haul trucks, tied workers, and beat
workers who tried to escape;
Whereas: In 2005 the CIW reached an historic agreement with Yum Brands, the owner of Taco Bell and four other
restaurant chains, to establish a code of conduct with zero tolerance for
slavery and better wages and conditions for tomato harvesters, and an
agreement was reached with McDonald's in 2007 and with Burger King
Whereas: The CIW won the 2007 Anti-Slavery International
Award for uncovering and investigating slavery cases and for innovative
campaigns that offer “a successful example of a preventative approach to forced
labor,” as well as the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award;
Whereas: Several General Assembly actions since 1969 have
addressed these issues and in a 1997 General Resolution, the Unitarian
Universalist Association urged member congregations “to work specifically in
favor …[of] the right to organize and bargain collectively, protection from
unsafe working conditions and protection from unjust dismissal";
Unitarian Universalist congregations, 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;
Whereas: Both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee are members of the Alliance for Fair
Food, a network of human
rights, religious, student, labor and grassroots organizations in partnership
with the CIW;
Therefore, be it resolved: The 2008 General Assembly of the
Unitarian Universalist Association urges member congregations
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
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