Christian Church joins Taco Bell boycott

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Delegates to the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have voted to join a boycott of Taco Bell over treatment of Florida tomato workers.

The vote by the 800,000-member denomination aims to increase pressure on the fast food chain to force its tomato suppliers to negotiate increased wages and improved working conditions for their workers.

The vote came Oct. 21 on the final day of the church's biannual General Assembly in Charlotte. The denomination is based in Indianapolis.

A spokesman for Taco Bell at its Irvine, Calif., headquarters did not return a call seeking comment on the vote.

Taco Bell, a unit of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, is only one buyer of Florida tomatoes. But the Rev. Dennis Short, pastor at Harbor Christian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., said, ''You sort of have to start someplace.''

Nationally, the boycott is being led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which represents Florida's migrant workers, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which voted to join the effort at its June 2002 General Assembly. The United Church of Christ, a close partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), approved the boycott in 2001.

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