Letters from the Issue of October 25, 2007

"I am not a whore at any price"

Chipotle's definition of integrity doesn't seem to include the notion of human rights — or at least not the right to a fair wage, the right to overtime pay, the right to organize, and the right to basic benefits like health insurance, sick leave, paid vacation, and pension. Tomato pickers in Florida, for example, earn about 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick — a rate that hasn't changed in nearly 30 years. On average, farm workers in this country earn $7500 to $10,000 per year. Many toil under conditions that amount to modern-day slavery. There have been five federal criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice and the FBI for modern-day slavery in Florida fields in the past seven years, involving more than 1000 farm workers.

While it is wonderful that Chipotle provides organic and healthful food — other restaurants should do the same — the definition of integrity must also include the full respect of human rights for the farm workers who cultivate and harvest the food.

Moira Birss

San Francisco


Calvin Godfrey's September 27 story "A Little Help for His Friends" might have given the wrong impression about former Opa-locka Mayor John Riley. He was never criminally charged in connection with claims about kickbacks in regard to the Hialeah/Opa-locka flea market. Moreover, he never owed $23,000 in attorney's fees in connection with that matter.

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