farmworkers

Farmworkers Reach Key Milestone in Fight for Living Wages

After more than two decades of working to increase social responsibility in the agricultural industry, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has announced a new partnership with a leading grocer that will bring "Fair Food" tomatoes — ones that are responsibly sourced — to more than 50 million new customers a month in nearly 780 new stores in 14 states. 

This new collaboration between Ahold USA (parent company to Giant, Stop & Shop, and Peapod) and CIW sends an important message across the grocery industry: supporting a modern and humane agricultural industry improves the lives of agricultural workers. 

An Open Letter to Publix

L. Kragt Bakker / Shutterstock.com

Coalition of Immokalee Workers protest at an Atlanta Publix, L. Kragt Bakker / Shutterstock.com

Dear Publix Leadership,

I should begin by saying that I am in almost all ways a big fan of your company. I often shop in a nearby Publix, and shopping there truly is a pleasure. It is clean. The staff are friendly and helpful. The products are good and the prices reasonable.

I'm especially impressed with the way Publix hires people with disabilities.

To provide a needed service and then go above and beyond in seeking to benefit the community — that's a winning combination, and a legacy to be proud of.

That's why I've been so surprised to see Publix (along with Wendy's) refusing (so far) to join the Fair Food Program. And that's why I've been outspoken in my desire to see Publix live up to the ideals of its founder, George Jenkins, who said, “Don’t let making a profit stand in the way of doing the right thing."

The 'Field of Panties': Sexual Violence and Immigrant Farmworkers

Field image by eurospiders/Shutterstock.

Field image by eurospiders/Shutterstock.

They call it the field de calzon — the "field of panties" —because so many rapes happen there.

On Wednesday, the organization Human Rights Watch released the report Cultivating Fear: The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. It’s filled with tales that would make Jeremiah, or Amos, or Micah weep: stories of some of the most marginalized, exploited, and impoverished people in the country.

HRW talked to 160 farmworkers, growers, law enforcement officials, attorneys and other experts in agricultural workplace issues in 8 different states, finding that most women working in agriculture have been — or know someone who has been — victimized sexually at work; confirming the findings of a 2010 survey of California Central Valley workers in which 80 percent reported having experienced sexual harassment or abuse on the job.

It’s common enough that some women farm workers see it as “an unavoidable condition of agricultural work.”

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