Thursday, October 7, 2010

Florida Farmworkers Take Aim at Supermarket Chains for “Fair Food”

Uprising Radio Features the CIW Supermarket Campaign!

Trader Joes has become a target of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers Fair Food! campaign. The grocery store has an ever growing number of locations around the nation and it describes itself as a specialty store that carries innovative as well as basic food items. It was ranked by the business focused think-tank Ethisphere as the one of three most ethical food stores in its 2010 World’s Most Ethical Companies list. The Immokalee workers are asking Trader Joes, as well as Kroger’s, Publix, and Stop N’ Shop chains to change the way they buy tomatoes. When retailers sign CIW’s Fair Food agreement they are agreeing to take specific actions including demanding more humane labor conditions for tomato growers, and buying only from growers who meet those higher standards. Florida tomato pickers are paid by the piece and the CIW says that to earn the minimum wage a farmworker must pick more than 2 and a quarter tons of tomatoes per 10 hour work day. Over the years the Immokalee workers’ campaign has been very successful in persuading major food corporations to join, including Whole Foods, Burger King, McDonalds, and Subway. On August 20th a coalition of farmworker advocacy groups began its Trader Joes campaign with a protest outside of a Manhattan, New York location.