"Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts." (James 5:4)
Our fast-moving society allows us to be blind to the injustices all around us. We don't realize that the workers who pick the coffee beans for our morning brew, or a the tomatoes for our fast-food burgers, are toiling in near slavery. Who knew that pulling through the drive-through to grab a burger could be such a significant decision?
I received an e-mail from Sojourners today, about Burger King and the wages paid to workers who pick tomatoes for this company. Here are some of the highlights of what they said:
Farm workers who pick tomatoes for Burger King's sandwiches earn 40 to 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has not risen significantly in nearly 30 years. Workers who toil from dawn to dusk must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 in one day.
Worse yet, modern-day slavery has reemerged in Florida's fields; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted five slavery rings, freeing more than 1,000 workers. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, Burger King's purchasing practices place downward pressure on farm worker wages and put corporate profits before human dignity.
I hope you'll forward the info to others. Ignorance of how our buying habits affect others is no excuse. We have an obligation to be intelligent. And to not eat at Burger King.