The Coalition Of Immokalee Workers campaigns for tomato harvesters

11/10/09 Robert Lorei
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The farmworkers of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) have been on a campaign for better wages for Florida tomato pickers. Yum Brands (owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC), McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods, food-service giant Compass Group, and Bon Appetit are all working with the CIW to improve wages and conditions for those who pick their tomatoes. According to the CIW: “this resulted in a breakthrough agreement with Florida's third largest tomato grower and two smaller organic growers to implement the penny per pound wage increase--the first real wage increase for tomato pickers in 30 years-- and a code of conduct for fair conditions in the fields. This also includes zero tolerance for modern-day slavery and a voice for farmworkers in reporting abuses and improving conditions.”

For almost a year, the CIW and others have invited Publix to join in improving the sub-poverty wages and abuses faced by farmworkers. Publix has declined to participate. Publix continues to purchase tomatoes from farms where the victims in the most recent slavery case-- who were beaten, locked in trucks, chained and forced to work-- were taken to work.

Farmworkers from the CIW will be traveling to the Tampa Bay area for public witness and educational events this fall.

*Sunday, Oct. 25th at 4pm: Picket at the Publix at 53rd and Fowler Ave., Tampa

*Saturday, Nov. 14th at 1:30pm: Picket at the Publix at 525 S Belcher Rd, Clearwater (corner of Belcher and Gulf to Bay Blvd)

*Sunday, Nov. 15th at 2:00 pm: Walk from the Publix at 5295 34th St. S., to the Publix at 3030 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg

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