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NCC's Edgar welcomes McDonald's
agreement with Immokalee workers

New York City, April 11, 2007 "This is indeed good news.  Not great.  But it is a start," said the Rev. Bob Edgar upon hearing of the agreement between McDonalds USA and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). 

Edgar, the General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), has been actively involved in seeking better wages for agriculture workers.

"Jesus cared especially for the poor and the oppressed," said the Rev. Edgar.  "The Bible tells us he even read in his hometown synagogue from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah about bringing 'good news to the poor' and letting 'the oppressed go free.'  Jesus might tell us he's pleased and remind us that it is just a start," Edgar said. 

The agreement announced this week is similar to one made two years ago with Yum Brands, owners of Taco Bell.  Both agreements call for an increase of one penny per pound of picked tomatoes.  The Yum Brands-CIW agreement was the first of its kind between a retail food company and a group representing the men and women who pick the food sold in retail restaurants.

In 2003, the NCC General Assembly voted to endorse consumer boycotts of the Mt. Olive (N.C.) Pickle Co. and Taco Bell.  Workers providing labor to both companies now receive higher wages. 

"There are many thousands of other workers--our brothers and sisters who pick the food over which we say grace at our dinner tables--who must still settle for poverty level wages, deplorable living conditions and unsafe working conditions," said the Rev. Edgar.  "We must keep the words of Jesus in the forefront of our minds as we continue this work for just wages and conditions for those who harvest the food from God's creation to sustain us each day."

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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