After successfully pressuring many of the largest fast food corporations – such as Taco Bell, Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King – to increase wages, improve benefits and follow new guidelines to protect the safety of the farmworkers that pick tomatoes over recent years, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has a new target: Publix Supermarkets.
Even though CIW signed an agreement with foodservice giant Aramark at the beginning of the month, Publix has refused to meet the demands of these exploited workers. In response, as Peter Rothberg at The Nation writes:
…the CIW has organized what is expected to be its largest action ever — a twenty-two mile march from Tampa to Lakeland, where Publix is based. The march is broken up into two distinct daily segments, and will culminate in a rally and concert on Sunday, April 18. The actress and activist Gloria Reuben will join Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Stetson Kennedy, Florida’s premier folklorist and longtime human rights champion, as rally hosts…
For all the many of you who aren’t able to join the march, please send Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw an email politely expressing your “support for the Farmworker Freedom March and your hope that he’ll begin working with the CIW to address the sub-poverty wages and abuses faced by the farmworkers who pick Publix’s tomatoes.
Check out the CIW’s site for more information on the Farmworker Freedom March, which begins this Friday, and instructions on how to register to participate.
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I love this post. I also love how this march shows how everything is connected–labor, civil rights, what we eat and where it comes from–and it’s nice to finally see a connection to modern slavery that acknowledges labor trafficking as a problem and isn’t all about tantalizing exotic sex! I wish I could go to this march.
Thanks Meg. That was my feeling too. I really wish I could take part in the action. I sure hope that it will be well attended, and that it will push Publix to rethink its position. Farmworkers in general have a great history of nonviolent action. If you’re not familiar with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, they are well worth looking into.
I am familiar with Chavez–and his right hand woman, Dolores Huerta, whose birthday it was recently! http://www.feministing.com/archives/020722.html