Immokalee wouldn't exist without fast food: The relational spatial politics of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

  • Andy Walter


In 2005 the Coalition of Immokalee Workers won a four-year campaign

against Taco Bell that resulted in the food retailer agreeing to contribute to a pay

raise and system for strengthening and monitoring the rights of workers who pick

the tomatoes it purchases from growers in the Immokalee-area of southwest

Florida. This paper examines the spatiality of the CIW’s praxis in that campaign. I

focus explicitly on the spatial thinking and practices that were central to the CIW’s

Taco Bell campaign. Previous studies observed a scalar element involving the upscaling

of the tomato pickers’ “local” dispute over wages and workplace rights. In

this paper, I interpret the CIW’s scale jumping as part of a larger relational politics

of space incorporating a “global sense of place” that connected Immokalee, the

place in which workers experienced exploitation and rights violations, to a larger

system of socio-spatial relations, connections, sites, and flows. This understanding

was fundamental to the CIWs presumption that a small organization of

farmworkers could successfully engage a “global” force like Taco Bell as well as to

the strategic actions that it undertook.

How to Cite
Walter, Andy. 2016. “Immokalee Wouldn’t Exist Without Fast Food: The Relational Spatial Politics of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 12 (2), 380-406.