By leveraging its high-volume purchasing power, the U.S. supermarket industry plays an active role in farmworker exploitation. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an internationally recognized farmworker organization based in Florida, is changing this reality through its Campaign for Fair Food.
With the four largest fast-food companies (McDonald's, Yum Brands, Burger King, and Subway) and three largest foodservice providers (Compass Group, Aramark, and Sodexo) having signed Fair Food agreements with the CIW, the focus now falls squarely on the $550 billion supermarket industry. And with the exception of Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's, the two speciality supermarket chains that signed agreements with the CIW in 2008 and 2012, respectively, it's time now for the major grocery chains to step up and bring their considerable purchasing power to the plate.
Publix, Ahold (parent company of Stop & Shop and Giant) and Kroger all pack a very heavy punch when it comes to their market power in the produce industry. And with great power comes great responsibility -- both for the poverty and brutal working conditions from which they have profited for so many years, and for the work of reforming farm labor conditions in their supply chains that lies ahead.
If the goal of a more modern, more humane Florida tomato industry is to be fully realized, the supermarket giants must do their part.
Click on any of the companies below to send a letter to their corporate executives!
For a visual explanation of the CIW's supermarket campaign, check out this brief video!