business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Fast Casual report that Chipotle, normally held up as a relative paragon of virtue and integrity within the fast food community, “ is facing scrutiny over its unwillingness to work with the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions of tomato harvesters in Florida.”

The problem is that Chipotle has not signed an agreement that would have tomato harvesters pay a penny more per bushel, which CIW says would go a long way toward improving working conditions for people in the fields. But Chipotle says that its relationships with independent growers do as much to support worker wages as any signed agreement with the CIW.

CIW says that Chipotle’s stance is misleading, and that it should take the formal step of signing the agreement.

One MNB user responded:

I find it disappointing that you continue to give any space at all to stories about the CIW.

The CIW is nothing more than a Bully on the playground attempting to get companies to ‘ante up’ with no reason for doing so. The facts on this organization can speak for themselves.

I applaud the stand by Chipolte and all others that refuse to give in to such tactics by the union.

I would hope that the MNB would be a place to expose the facts rather than giving ‘air time’ to a bully that does not deserve it. We would be better served by refusing to give attention to such misguided efforts.

MNB user Dan Jones wrote:

One of the most admired grocers in the world, Publix, did not sign on with the CIW on tomato prices, and CIW slammed Publix in the press.  One of the most admired chain restaurants in the world, Chipotle, did not sign on with the CIW on tomato prices, and CIW slammed Chipotle in the press.

I have not studied the issue in depth, but it seems there are some real issues with either the CIW program, or the CIW bullying tactics.  Or both.

And from another MNB user:

IMHO, I think Chipotle is doing the right thing by setting the ceiling…rather than signing on with the lowest common denominator…

For the record, I think that Chipotle is making a solid argument in saying that it is supporting workers’ rights in other ways, and does not feel the need to work through the CIW. Publix took a different position, if I recall correctly - that it was not the retailer’s role to choose sides in such fights. I’m not sure I agree with that position ... I think that retailers and manufacturers can choose sides whenever they want, and that it can be an entirely appropriate role for them to take.

I wrote yesterday about a new concept called a “Tacocopter” - the idea is to allow people to order tacos via their smartphones, and then have unmanned drones deliver them to the customer by identifying their location through the use of the GPS system in their devices. You pay online, so all the Tacocopter has to do is drop the tacos off and fly off to make its next delivery.

I wrote:

Which sounds, once one stops laughing, actually like a really cool idea.

Except for one problem. According to various reports, US law makes such a system illegal; it is against the law to fly unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial purposes within US borders.

As opposed to, say, using them to drop bombs on foreign countries.

Which made me think. I wonder if we’d be any further along in the war against terrorists if we were dropping tacos - and maybe even burgers and fries - on these towns and villages instead of bombs.

(Think about it. Instead of destroying things and killing people, we just send them hot, salty fast food that they get totally addicted to. Either they drop their guns and decide to try to buy a McDonald’s franchise, or they keep eating and give themselves a heart attack. Either way, we win.)

I’m just thinking...

MNB user Mike Franklin wrote:

Now that’s funny…a global food fight instead of thermal nuclear mutual annihilation. IMHO, soldiers would meet in street warfare and exchange ideas about the best burger…and then maybe go to a coffee shop and become friends.

MNB user Nora Ludviksen wrote:

Laughing my head off, Kevin!  But it sure would be better than the current payload. Brilliant.

But Leo Martineau chimed in:

You stated in your article that it is illegal to fly a drone over US soil. That will change in May according to an article that appeared in Computerworld last week. The FAA will begin to license them to fly above 400 feet so let the tacos fall!

I have the feeling that suddenly the skies are going to look like the airspace in the local mall, where there always seems to be a kiosk with a guy selling remote-controlled model planes and helicopters that buzz shoppers as they walk by.

My instinct is always to reach for a baseball bat and knock them out of the sky.
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