The Council’s Farmworker Ministry Committee has long been supportive of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its efforts on behalf of those who work in the fields. The Committee has hosted CIW events locally and advocated for the Coalition’s campaigns.
David LaMotte, the Council’s consultant for peace, recently had a guest column published in the Asheville Citizen-Times in which he calls attention to the CIW’s Fair Food Program as it pertains to Publix. It reads in part:
The Fair Food Program is a historic partnership among farm workers, tomato growers, and 13 leading food corporations. These companies require more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers and pay one penny per pound to improve workers’ pay, agreeing to buy only from tomato growers that are part of the program.
This is not a fringe project of coercion. The vast majority of Florida tomato growers are now a part of the Fair Food Program, and participating corporations include Walmart, McDonald’s, and Whole Foods. The program was heralded in the Washington Post as “one of the great human rights success stories of our day,” and was called “the best workplace monitoring program in the US” in the New York Times.
During the approaching summer’s long days of planting and of harvest, we must remember those whose back-breaking labor helps put food on our tables. May our prayers and actions reflect our respect for their work and their humanity.