American churches urge MacDonalds to increase wages

 The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined other American churches in a call on McDonald's to push for its tomato suppliers to pay higher wages. As most of McDonald's tomatoes come from Florida, the bishops want the firm to broker a deal between the state's growers and main pickers union. The Prebyterian Church, United Church of Christ, and National Council of Churches have already issued appeals to MacDonalds. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, head of the Conference of Catholic Bishop's Domestic Policy Committee, has sent an open letter to McDonald's in which he said: "with substantial purchasing power, you can insist that your produce suppliers meet high ethical standards in how they treat their workers." McDonald's spokesman William Whitman said the company has required suppliers to comply with its code of conduct on workers' health, safety and legal rights since it was established in 1993. "We believe that all employees, including those who work for our business partners, should be treated with dignity and respect in every aspect of the employment relationship," he said. Florida's immigrant farmworkers, who come mainly from Mexico and Haiti, are represented by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. This group boycotted Yum! Brands outlets: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, for four years, before an increased pay deal was brokered last year.

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