News Archives

WSR

CIW speaks at OSCE conference in Moscow on stopping human trafficking…

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) holds first-ever international conference on public private partnerships fighting human trafficking in collaboration with Russian Federation, identifies Worker-driven Social Responsibility as promising new prevention method in fight against human trafficking…Last September, CIW representatives were asked to speak on the Fair Food Program and the CIW’s anti-slavery efforts at the OSCE’s Conference on Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation in Supply Chains in Berlin.  The conference was described as a “high-level event… part of the OSCE’s ongoing effort to raise awareness about the problem of labour exploitation in supply chains and to advocate for increased actions at the […]

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Labor expert: “There’s no reason this model can’t work across the United States…”

“A SHIFT IN THOUGHT: Florida’s tomato pickers took on some of the country’s biggest retailers and fast-food chains – and won, transforming working conditions in the tomato fields. Now they and their allies are trying to take the fight to new fields and new industries.”  Christian Science Monitor article on CIW’s Worker-driven Social Responsibility modelIn two days, workers from Immokalee and their allies will pack up piles of protest art and provisions for two weeks on the road as they head out on the big Return to Human Rights Tour.  Along the way they will stop in over a dozen cities, […]

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ANALYSIS: Lofty goals… or empty promises?

First draft of new industry-led initiative charts uncertain course toward “responsible labor practices” in US produce sector…Brief: There’s nothing like the “power of the purchasing order” for turning standards on paper into reality on the ground when violations of a code of conduct occur, and there’s nothing resembling that sort of market consequence with real teeth — yet — built into the produce industry’s recently released “Ethical Charter.”  Genuine, informed worker participation and real enforcement mechanisms will be imperative going forward if this new initiative is to have any hope of success in bringing meaningful human rights protections to the US and Mexican […]

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And you thought the presidential debates were maddening…

Wendy’s issues statement on boycott after months of silence.  Silence was better.As we write this on Wednesday evening, the nation prepares (and by “prepares” we mean curls into the fetal position on the couch in front of the TV…) for the third and final presidential debate.  But if you are like us and happened to catch Wendy’s new statement on the Fair Food movement’s national boycott, published yesterday on an obscure public relations blog dedicated to the discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility, then you were treated to a sort of pre-debate hors d’oeuvres plate, a similar mix of cheap innuendo, half-truths, and outright fabrications, just in […]

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Part Two: What is a corporation to do if it is looking to partner with a real social responsibility program?

We concluded the first installment of this two-part series, entitled “The Enforcement Imperative at the Heart of Worker-driven Social Responsibility,” with this summary:To be effective, any social accountability program must employ: 1) worker education about their rights and remedies, 2) a confidential, timely, retaliation-free complaint resolution mechanism, and 3) regular and thorough audits.  And all of those mechanisms must be backed by the “power of the purchasing order.” If any of those is missing, real change will not happen.In other words, if someone is trying to sell you a car without an engine, a drive shaft, and four wheels, it’s not a […]

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The enforcement imperative at the heart of Worker-driven Social Responsibility…

Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) — the emerging paradigm for the protection of fundamental human rights in corporate supply chains born of the uniquely successful experience of the Fair Food Program — is founded on two distinct and equally important philosophical pillars: worker participation and an intense focus on enforcement.  The former gives WSR its name and its ability to identify and uncover the abuses most urgently felt by workers themselves.  The latter gives WSR its unrivaled power to eliminate those abuses.This is the first in a two-part series about the lesser-known of those two pillars, the enforcement focus — indeed mandate — of […]

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Got Milk with Dignity? Vermont’s Migrant Justice putting finishing touches on breakthrough dairy program…

From Florida tomatoes to Vermont dairy, Worker-driven Social Responsibility in the spotlight at food systems summit…Last week, members of the CIW, Migrant Justice, and the Fair Food Standards Council came together for a special presentation at the 5th Annual Vermont Food Systems Summit in Burlington.  The panel, titled “Worker-driven Social Responsibility for Fair Food,” brought together two unique perspectives.  While the CIW and FFSC unpacked important lessons from their five years of experience implementing the Fair Food Program in tomato fields from Florida to New Jersey, Migrant Justice brought a decidedly more local focus to the gathering of New England food […]

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A Battle for the Soul of Social Responsibility…

Wendy’s new code of conduct is a prime example of the discredited standards-without-enforcement model of corporate social responsibility;Workers’ Voice Tour to contrast Wendy’s code with the proven success of the Fair Food Program and the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model…What would you do if you could cheat on your taxes and know that you would get away with it? Not just think you might get away with it if you’re lucky, but really know that no one is watching and there would be no consequences.  Would you do it?The answer is pretty obvious.  Nobody likes paying taxes.  And even many of those who think taxes […]

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Standards without enforcement are nothing more than empty promises to workers, consumers alike…

In social change, as in sports, it’s not what you say you’re going to do that counts, it’s how well you actually do it…Please indulge us, for a moment, in an extended analogy.   Every four years countries around the globe send their best athletes to compete in the summer Olympic games.  And every four years, for two brief weeks the term “degree of difficulty” makes its way back into our collective consciousness, as divers and gymnasts compete to see who can pull off the most challenging routine and take home the gold.  The Collins English Dictionary defines “degree of difficulty” […]

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Question: What are the three most important elements of a successful social responsibility program?

Answer:  1) Enforcement 2) Enforcement 3) EnforcementThe litany of brutal human rights abuses in corporate supply chains around the globe just keeps getting longer by the day, and more horrifying with each new exposé.Longtime readers of this site are familiar with the extensive history of labor abuse in America’s fields, including Florida’s own “Harvest of Shame.”  From federal prosecutors declaring Florida “ground zero for modern-day slavery” (in the wake of seven prosecutions of forced labor operations that liberated well over 1,200 workers since 1995), to the recent PBS Frontline series “Rape in the Fields,” to the even more recent $17 million EEOC judgment against the […]

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