Farm workers protest Publix in Lakeland
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12/07/09 Glenn Pendergrass
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

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Stetson Kennedy (front) hopes Publix will pay a penny per pound more for tomatoes as his wife, Sandra Parks, holds a sign supporting farm workers.


photo by Glenn Pendergrass/WMNF

A group of Florida farm workers took their demand for a wage increase directly to the state’s biggest grocery chain on Sunday. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers marched to the Lakeland headquarters of Publix.

The tomato harvesters were asking for an additional penny per pound but so far have met with resistance from the grocery chain. That frustrates Maria who marched with 300 others the 2 miles from a Lakeland Publix to the corporate offices.

Publix spokesperson Shannon Patton says the supermarket chain already does its share. Since 2001 the tomato harvesters have asked several fast food and supermarket chains for the penny per pound increase.

It’s believed that the penny per pound increase for tomatoes will provide the farm workers and their families a living wage.

However, Charles McKenzie, state coordinator for the Rainbow Push Coalition is worried that it may not be enough.

Human Rights activist Stetson Kennedy has been working on the Florida farm workers plight for decades and feels that time is running out.

For more information about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers visit CIW

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It's the economy...

Unfortunately… Stetson Kennedy was right!!! Time has run out… on the economic clock. The pickers decided to by-pass the growers and take the fight straight to the consumers with hopes of convincing the consumer (Publix, Whole Foods, etc.) to placate the growers into giving the 1 cent per pound raise. Why??? Because the grower pays the picker… not the consumer!!! But… right now… the difference between $3.99 and $3.69 a pound at the counter is too much to ask for… from me … the buyer!!!