Student/Farmworker Alliance

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Student/Farmworker Alliance is a national network of students and youth formally organized in 2000. SFA organizes in direct partnership and solidarity with farmworkers, working to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the agricultural fields of the United States. The organization works in close partnership and solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a membership-led organization of mostly Mexican, Guatemalan and Mayan Indian immigrants working in agricultural and other low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

SFA operates with the knowledge that only farmworkers can speak for themselves and is dedicated to working with them for change. SFA takes its lead directly from the workers themselves, affirming a belief in direct action and direct democracy where people and communities act through their own power to control and change their own lives.

Taco Bell Boycott[edit]

In March 2005, after four years of intense campaigning, farmworkers from the CIW and their allies scored a decisive victory in their national Taco Bell boycott. Yielding to growing pressure from the CIW, students, and other allies, Taco Bell and its parent company Yum! Brands – the world’s largest restaurant corporation – conceded to all of the boycott’s demands, agreeing to work with the CIW to improve the sub-poverty wages and working conditions of farmworkers in its tomato supply chain.

Students and youth were crucial in the grassroots coalition that won this incredible victory. As Taco Bell’s target market (18- to 24-year-olds), they instead put a target on Taco Bell, making the boycott one of the fastest-growing campaigns for economic justice on campuses and communities throughout the country. Between 2002 and 2005, twenty-two high schools and universities removed or prevented Taco Bell restaurants and sponsorships as part of SFA’s “Boot the Bell” campaign. By the boycott’s end, dozens of additional campaigns were underway, and Taco Bell was unable to secure new campus contracts without fear of vocal student opposition.

The Campaign Against McDonald's[edit]

In the wake of the Taco Bell Boycott victory, the CIW focused in 2006 on the McDonald's Corporation, demanding better wages for the farmworkers providing tomatoes in their supply chain. On April 9, 2007, after two years of intense campaigning, McDonald's agreed to meet all of the CIW's demands.

As in the Taco Bell Boycott victory, youth and student organizing played a crucial role in the swift success of the McDonald's campaign. From aggressive grassroots education to nationally coordinated protests, SFA provided leadership to a broad and diverse network of young allies, demonstrating the effectiveness and clout of the alliance between Florida's farmworkers and students and youth throughout the U.S.

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