On October 13, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Pacific Tomato Growers (CIW) -- one of the country's oldest and largest tomato producers -- announced a groundbreaking agreement for improving the wages and conditions of tomato pickers.
Pacific Tomato Growers became the second major tomato grower to agree to pass the penny per pound wage increase from major retailers -- including Taco Bell, Burger King, Whole Foods, and others -- onto farmworkers in a transparent manner. Typically, farmworkers earn just 1.6 cents per pound of tomatoes they pick; the additional 1 cent per pound can go a long way towards alleviating the poverty faced by farmworkers and their families. Moreover, Pacific and the CIW will jointly implement several practical systems to eliminate the abuses all too frequently faced by those who harvest our nation's crops. Most importantly, farmworkers themselves will be full participants in this process with a voice in protecting their own rights.
During the announcement of the new partnership, Jon Esformes, Operating Partner of Pacific Tomato Growers stated,"The transgressions that take place [in agriculture] are totally unacceptable