Students Push to Boot Taco Bell from UT’s Campus

January 28th, at 3:00pm, at the [Student] Union Board meeting a resolution regarding Taco Bell will be introduced. This resolution calls for the support of the Union Board in the removal of Taco Bell from UT campus. Students are asking for support at the meeting to demonstrate a strong opposition to Taco Bell’s presence on campus. The meeting will be held at the Board of Directors Room in the Texas Union.

For background on Taco Bell’s record of exploiting immigrant labor, see: FAQ’s on the Taco Bell Boycott

Recent history of Boot the Bell organizing at UT

After two years of intermittent actions, picketing and educational efforts, there was a concerted effort in 2003 to remove Taco Bell for the University of Texas’ Texas Union. Students on campus, organizing under the moniker Student Labor Action Project(SLAP), have renewed that effort this year capitalizing on the expiration of the contract between the Texas Union and Aramark, Inc, who manages and operates food facilities, including Taco Bell, in the Student Union. Not only is the contract’s expiration opportune, but also SLAP’s recent organizing efforts have indeed secured the Union Board of Directors and Aramark management’s request for ‘student support’ for removing Taco Bell.

Thousands of signatures calling for Taco Bell’s removal have been collected, hundreds of community members and students have demonstrated against Taco Bell’s existence on UT’s campus.

Hundreds of students from around the country will be in Austin to encourage the Texas Union Board to recommend Taco Bell’s removal. This will coincide with United Students Against Sweatshops national conference Feb 11th-13th.

Many area student also plan to attend the Taco Bell Truth Tour in Louisville, Kentucky February 28 through March 10 in order to highlight Taco Bell’s unfair labor practices.

Student/Farmworker Alliance | Coalition of Immokalee Workers

History of Boot the Bell organizing at UT

After two years of intermittent actions, picketing and educational efforts, there was a concerted effort in 2003 to remove Taco Bell for the University of Texas’ Texas Union. Students on campus, organizing under the moniker Student Labor Action Project(SLAP), have renewed that effort this year capitalizing on the expiration of the contract between the Texas Union and Aramark, Inc, who manages and operates food facilities, including Taco Bell, in the Student Union. Not only is the contract’s expiration opportune, but also SLAP’s recent organizing efforts have indeed secured the Union Board of Directors and Aramark management’s request for ‘student support’ for removing Taco Bell.

Thousands of signatures calling for Taco Bell’s removal have been collected, hundreds of community members and students have demonstrated against Taco Bell’s existence on UT’s campus. But, more significantly SLAP has taken a new direction in the campaign by appealing directly to the most diverse and important student groups on campus. Nearly 20 students organizations, by some estimates directly or indirectly representing thousands of students, have endorsed the removal of Taco Bell from campus. As further evidence of the unpopularity of Taco Bell and their labor practices, hundreds of students from around the country will be in Austin to encourage the Texas Union Board to recommend Taco Bell’s removal. This will coincide with United Students Against Sweatshops USAS national conference Feb 11th-13th. One SLAP organizer commented, “USAS’ decision to come to Austin to protest Taco Bell only further indicates that not only is Taco Bell’s existence in the Union unpopular and unacceptable at the University of Texas, but also on nearly every campus across the country. The administration may consider what kind of reputation dealing with Taco Bell will give to prospective students.”

Many SLAP organizers’ feel removing Taco Bell from the Union is only one piece of the struggle. “Kicking Taco Bell off one of the largest campus in the nation will surely send a message the Taco Bell that they must negotiate with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers,” said one organizer, “However, we recognize that in order for the boycott to be successful we must appeal to folks all over the nation.”

Several students and area activists have decided that such broader action must be taken. They plan to attend the Taco Bell Truth Tour in Louisville, Kentucky February 28 through March 10 in order to highlight Taco Bell’s unfair labor practices.

Related IMC Stories: The Everyday Face of Globalization | SLAP: News in the boot the bell campaign (4 Nov 2004) | CIW Bring Their Fight for Justice in the Fields to Austin (5 OCT 2003)

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