Posted on Thu, April 08, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
0 Comments | Categories: Events, Farms and Farming, Food Justice, News, Current Events, Take Action,
by Damara Luce, Just Harvest USA
This April 16-18, you can join farmworkers, their families, and their allies as they take the movement for farmworker justice to the streets and call on the Publix supermarket chain—one of the largest private corporations in the country, with 2009 sales of $25 billion—to end the human rights crisis in Florida’s fields!
FARMWORKER FREEDOM MARCH
Freedom from forced labor, poverty and abuse
FRIDAY, APRIL 16 SUNDAY, APRIL 18
Tampa to Lakeland, FL
Workers and their allies will march over 20 miles from downtown Tampa to Publix headquarters in Lakeland. The march will culminate in a rally and concert in Munn Park in downtown Lakeland on Sunday, April 18.
The phenomenal Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum will also be on exhibit at the rally in Munn Park. The Museum’s centerpiece is a cargo truck, outfitted as a replica of trucks involved in the latest farmworker slavery operation. That very truck will symbolically and powerfully lead the march from Tampa to Lakeland as we call on and end, once and for all, to slavery in the fields.
Please visit the Farmworker Freedom March site for more information.
If you can’t make it, you can still email the CEO of Publix to express your opposition to their purchasing decisions. CLICK HERE.
Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the corporate food industry are among the country’s worst paid, least protected workers. They labor for sub-poverty wages that have not changed significantly in 30 years, are excluded from basic labor and human rights, and, in the most extreme cases, face conditions of actual modern-day slavery, forced to work against their will through threats and violence. There have been seven federally-prosecuted cases of forced labor in Floridas fields since 1997, involving a total of over 1,000 workers.
Retail food corporations such as Publix have the responsibility to change this grim reality due to the effects of their high-volume, low-cost purchasing practices. In a 2004 study, Oxfam America wrote, squeezed by the buyers of their produce, growers pass on the costs and risks imposed on them to those on the lowest rung of the supply chain: the farmworkers they employ.
Through a national Campaign for Fair Food, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida farmworker organization, has struck agreements with eight food industry leaders including McDonald’s, Subway, Aramark and Whole Foods to directly improve farmworker wages and working conditions, thereby eliminating the poverty and powerlessness at the root of modern-day slavery.
Publix, however, has refused to take similar responsibility. Instead, Publix continues to purchase tomatoes from two farms tainted by a 2008 farmworker slavery prosecution, and has ignored calls from workers and consumers to be a part of ending Florida’s harvest of shame.
For more about the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers (CIW), click here