Ten day, ten city tour to take farmworkers, allies from Immokalee to Wendy’s home state of Ohio, then back to Florida with a last stop in Publix’s hometown of Lakeland…
Stops along the way to include actions in major cities, including Atlanta, GA, Raleigh, NC, Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN!
Want to get involved? Contact Elena Stein from Interfaith Action
Want to get involved? Contact Claire from Interfaith Action
In the wake of the Walmart agreement earlier this month — a watershed moment in the Fair Food movement, signaling the consolidation of the Fair Food Program in the Florida tomato industry and the expansion of its innovative model beyond Florida and to crops other than tomatoes — the editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times (one of Publix’s two hometown papers) wrote:
With Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart now participating in the program, there is no reason Publix should not join its grocery competitors in helping to raise pay and improve working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has demonstrated that determination, organization and public outreach can make a real difference in improving the lives of workers who are performing backbreaking work to feed America. Adding Wal-Mart to the effort will pay huge dividends, but there is more work to do… read more
That “more work” to which the Times’ editorial refers is the need to win still more support for the Program from the retail food giants, from companies like Publix and Wendy’s that refuse to step up to the new industry standards for human rights protection in the supply chain.
The Fair Food Program’s impact on workers’ lives is a direct function of the number of buyers participating in the Program. Through the penny-per-pound premium that goes to improve wages, more buyers means a larger Fair Food bonus on workers’ paychecks. And through the participating buyers’ commitment to only purchase Florida tomatoes from growers that comply with the Fair Food Code of Conduct, more buyers means greater support for participating growers that meet the human rights standards set out in the Code. And so every day that Publix and Wendy’s refuse to join, the Fair Food Program is unable to realize its full potential and farmworkers’ poverty is prolonged.
In 2001, we launched the Campaign for Fair Food with a simple slogan: Taco Bell makes farmworkers poor. But today, Publix and Wendy’s are keeping farmworkers poor through their unconscionable refusal to join their competitors in support of the Fair Food Program.
What’s worse: Today, with their primary competitors supporting the penny-per-pound premium, both Wendy’s and Publix are actively profiting from their refusal to join the Program, gaining a cost advantage over their competitors at the expense of the farmworkers who pick their tomatoes.
Now is the time for this indefensible exploitation to end. Now is the time for Publix and Wendy’s to exit the road that leads back to the day when farmworkers were invisible and the claims of corporate-led social responsibility were unquestioned. Now is the time for Publix and Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Nation — farmworkers, consumers, growers, and their competitors — on the road to real social responsibility, respect for farmworkers as human beings, and a 21st century food industry where human rights are fundamental, the road to the New Day.