Defining Fair Food: CIW Launches New Campaign

by Chris Hicks

Last Monday, Jobs With Justice ally the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) launched a new campaign and video demanding that supermarkets step up to the plate and treat workers fairly.

By leveraging its high-volume purchasing power, the U.S. supermarket industry plays an active role in farm worker exploitation. Publix, Ahold, Kroger and Trader Joe’s 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.

With the four largest fast-food companies (McDonald’s, Yum Brands, Burger King, and Subway) and three largest food service 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. Whole Foods signed an agreement with the CIW nearly two years ago, and now it’s time for the major grocery chains to step up and bring their considerable purchasing power to the plate. For that to happen, the Campaign for Fair Food needs you to take action.

* SEND AN EMAIL TODAY to the CEO’s of Publix, Ahold, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s to demand they quit stalling and start working with the CIW to protect human rights in their Florida tomato supply chain.

Then, take out your calendar and SAVE THE DATE: This coming spring, farmworkers from Immokalee and allies from across the country will be gathering not once, but twice, for farmworker justice!

  • Sunday, February 27th in Quincy, Massachusetts, for a protest at Ahold’s U.S. headquarters. Then, following a week-long tour back down the east coast…
  • Saturday, March 5th, in Tampa, Florida, for a second major protest, this time in Publix’s backyard.

The supermarket giants are the only thing standing between the CIW and a future of respect for human rights in Florida’s fields, between a food industry based on farm labor exploitation and degradation today and a more modern, more humane industry tomorrow.  Let’s send them a message – loud and clear – that it’s time for the supermarket industry to join the growing movement for Fair Food.

Chris Hicks is national organizer for the Student Labor Action Project.  This post originally appeared on the Jobs with Justice Blog.

One Response

  1. Decent story, although the last part is a little suspicious in my opinion. I do hope to see more of this, but how can I stay updated with your posts? Best regards from Holland!

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