SAVE Taco Bell

So you have a 30 minute break between classes, and in all the hussle and bussle between the heliocentric theory and the three fundamentals of Object Oriented programming, the only place of solace at UCLA was taco bell. Now, because of the views of 400 individuals, only 1% of the student population, Taco Bell no longer exists! This letter was sent to the Daily Bruin, but was not published. Here is the link to the original article:


                I am writing in regards to the article titled "Board Ends Taco Bell Contract," which appeared in the 10/25 edition of the Daily Bruin. After reading the article, I was both shocked and outraged, eliciting feelings I have only felt after we lose a football game to USC.

                The article concludes with a statement by Gustavo DeHaro that the decision "gives back ownership of the association to the students." From the facts in the article, only 400 UCLA students signed postcards that supported Taco Bell's removal. How can 1 percent of the UCLA student population be considered the voice of the students, or even an association of the students? It appears that Mr. DeHaro and the members of the Student Worker Front (“SWF”) have taken their own agenda and stuffed it down the throats of the remaining student population.

                Furthermore, the SWF may have mistakenly focused their attention on the wrong company. There are over 6,500 Taco Bells in the United States serving more than 1.8 billion customers a year. Also, Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, Inc. which also owns, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Long John Silver's, totaling over 33,000 restaurants world wide.  With such a huge corporate entity, the closing of one store at UCLA will be the equivalent of a flea biting an elephant. Sure, if enough flea's bite, the elephant will fall, but that is not going to happen when 1.8 billion people eat at Taco Bell.

                The SWF might want to consider focusing their efforts on the corporation's that buy the tomatoes. Or maybe the SWF should do some more research, and see if the conditions surrounding the majority of the Immokalee tomato farming industry are as bad as CIW would like people to believe. Take for example the story of Cecil Howell, ( who owns a tomato farm. He has 150 to200 workers who pick tomatoes, each earning $6.25 and hour and are guaranteed $50 for 8 hours, plus a dime a bucket for working from 8 AM to 4 PM. Mr. Howell's farm may be an exception, or it may be the norm. How can the SWF justify a decision that affects the eating habits of over 35,000 students, when it only had the support of 400 students?

                If SWF is concerned with the rights of workers, then they should not single out Taco Bell. Has the SWF examined the food suppliers of Panda Express, Rubio's, Sbarro's, the dorm food? Have they examined where the cotton for the clothing in the UCLA store comes from? What about cement used to build the new hospital? Are the workers at the rock quarries paid fairly? The SWF should not single out Taco Bell just to fight the good fight. If they are to truly fight for worker's rights then they should examine all the suppliers of UCLA.

                It is wholly unfair for a small minority on campus to affect an institution at UCLA that has served our campus for over 10 years. Furthermore, the financial impact of such a decision is economically unsound. Do SWF members make these kinds of decisions in their own lives? Does they only shop at the Farmer's Market, because Ralph's might not have fair labor standards. Does they not drive cars, or take a fuel friendly busses, because the use of oil harms the environment and has small ties to terrorism?

Did the SWF think of any other solutions short of shutting down Taco Bell? What about donating the profits from the Taco Bell at UCLA to the workers? History has shown that it is possible to have a revolution without guns, thus it is possible to fight for a cause while students eat their Gordita’s. Shutting down the Taco Bell does not appear to be reflective of the student body, but rather a reflection of a small minority. It is time for ASUCLA to stop propagating itself, and time for the mainstream to say “Enough, we want our Taco Bell!” Where is the outrage? Where are the petitions that say I WANT MY TACO BELL?

I commend the SWF for finding a cause and fighting for it, but at what expense, and is it fair? Whenever I pass by a Taco Bell, I get fond memories of eating my 79 cent bean and cheese burrito on the grassy hills next to Janns Steps, and I know many people share the same sentiment. Until the introduction of Rubio’s, Taco Bell was the best place to eat on campus, which says a lot about the quality of UCLA food. I hope that the current UCLA student body will rise up and not allow a small minority to control their eating decisions, so grab your Grilled Stuffed Burrito, take some Spicy Sauce, and EAT OUR TACO BELL!


Glad I got my Taco Bell!



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