The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) enjoyed a remarkable 2010, successfully obtaining penny per pound pay raises and code of conduct agreements for farmworkers from the three largest food service companies and the growers who had blocked checks buyers cut directly to the workers so that millions of dollars languished in escrow. These agreements stand to increase workers’ annual earnings from about $10,000 to as much as $17,000. The State Department also recognized Laura Germino, CIW’s antislavery campaign coordinator, as an “anti-Trafficking Hero” for her work helping the US Department of Justice prosecute seven slavery operations in Florida over the last fifteen years, resulting in the liberation of over 1,000 farmworkers.
Now, the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food—think human rights in the food industry—takes on the $550 billion supermarket industryand this kind of backward thinking: “We don’t have any plans to sit down with the CIW,” said Publix Media and Community Relations Manager Dwaine Stevens. “If there are some atrocities going on, it’s not our business.”
Actually, the supply chains used by corporations to turn a profit—and how workers who give us the food we eat are treated—are absolutely the business of corporations and consumers. Publix, Ahold (parent company of Giant and Stop & Shop), Kroger, Trader Joe’s—all would be wise to either get on board or brace themselves. You can begin to educate yourself and get involved here. This is a fight we all need to be a part of in 2011.] emphasis addedCIW http://www.thenation.com/blog/157319/action-hope-2011