Tomato Justice – October 12, 2014

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, beginning at 7:00pm, St. Noel will host the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) who will offer a short presentation on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their Fair Food campaign.

We will hear the presentation and brainstorm ways we can advocate on behalf of CIW.

The event will conclude by 8:30pm.

Since 2001, the Fair Food campaign has celebrated numerous victories, getting fast food chains to pay 1 penny more per pound of tomatoes. That little bit of extra pay has gone a long way in improving conditions in the fields and enabling farmworkers to organize for the long haul.

Now 90% of Florida tomato growers are part of the Fair Food Program. And almost every major fast food chain has signed an agreement with CIW. All except one: the last hold-out is Ohio-based Wendy’s.

CIW representatives have presented their case to Wendy’s. Hundreds of farmworker justice supporters marched to Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, OH (near Columbus) on March 9, 2014. (IRTF organized a delegation from Cleveland that marched with them.) CIW is seeking more support to persuade Wendy’s to sign on to the Fair Food Program.

Since 2001, the following fast food chains and other purchasers of Florida tomatoes have signed the Fair Food agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW):

Aramark (food service provider)

Bon Apetit

Burger King

Chipotle

Compass Group (food service provider)

McDonald’s

Sodexo (food service provider)

Subway

Taco Bell

Trader Joe’s

Walmart

Whole Foods

Even more exciting is the long-term structural change created in 2010 when the CIW and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange signed an agreement that spurred the full implementation of the Fair Food Program (FFP). This is a groundbreaking model for social responsibility based on a unique partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and participating buyers.  The Program is a comprehensive, verifiable, and sustainable approach to ensuring better wages and working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields.

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