On March 5th, more than 50 members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) began a 6-day fast in Lakeland, Florida, hoping to urge Publix Super Markets to implement the Fair Food Program.
The program focuses on implementing strategies to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers. It challenges major tomato buyers to pay a premium of one penny more per pound for their tomatoes and works directly with farm laborers to establish a just code of conduct. The fast will culminate on May 10th in a three-mile procession to Publix headquarters.
These CIW members join faith leaders, students, and community leaders from across the country with hopes of bringing attention to Publix’s refusal to support measures ensuring the fundamental rights of farmworkers who labor in America’s fields. By entering into a partnership with the CIW, Publix will take a big step toward providing Florida farm workers more fair wages.
The CIW is a community-based organization of farmworkers working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Since 1993 they have organized hunger strikes, boycotts, interfaith prayer vigils, rallies, and marches calling for fairer wages and better working conditions that have led major food companies such as Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to sign Fair Food Agreements.
Click here to learn how you can support the workers and follow the fast.
To read more about the CIW and workers in the food industry: Trader Joe’s and Coalition of Immokalee Workers Sign Fair Food Act, Modern Slavery Museum: Coming to a Street or City Near You, A Penny for Their Hard Work, Food Justice Discussion at Georgetown University, Food With (Not So Much) Integrity, ILWU Wins Fight for Union Dock Work in Longview, Washington, and Fighting for Farmworkers’ Rights for More Than 40 Years.
By Alison Blackmore