Justice for Farmworkers

February 2, 2013

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013

Today I joined a rally to support Florida's underpaid farmworkers. We demonstrated outside of the downtown Orlando Publix grocery store to ask for a 1-cent a pound increase on tomatoes.

In 2013, Florida farmworkers are paid the same rate that they were paid in 1978 – $.50 per 32 pound bucket of tomatoes. At this rate a worker has to pick 2.5 tons of tomatoes per day to earn the Florida minimum wage.

Florida farmworkers have no right to overtime pay, no health insurance, sick leave, paid vacation or retirement plan. They have no right to organize to improve their working conditions.

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013

For over a decade the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has led an outreach and education campaign called Campaign for Fair Food. They developed the Fair Food Program, a partnership between tomato growers, farmworkers and ten food corporations. The corporations, which include Subway, McDonalds, Whole Foods and Trader Joes, are paying a one cent premium towards farmworkers wages. They are also demanding humane labor standards from their tomato suppliers.  They only buy from suppliers who meet the higher standards.  The partnership is building a new tomato industry that respects the dignity and human rights of farmworkers.

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013

In spite of the advances, Publix, Florida's largest privately-owned company has refused for three years to even sit at the table with farmworkers to discuss entering into the agreement that other companies have supported. Publix chooses to ignore the exploitation of the farmworkers and chooses to profit on the back of the underpaid farmworkers. Today protesters asked Publix to help end the harvest of shame.


Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2013


Read more at the CIW website and at the YAYA website.

0 comments: