The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIM)– which began in 1993 as a coalition of Florida farm-workers, organized around the fight to end modern-day slavery conditions– has evolved into an award-winning, internationally-recognized human rights organization. The CIM has provided a voice to farm-workers concerning the decisions that affect their everyday lives. Built on the foundations of social responsibility, the CIW strives to end work-related, gender-based, violence; human trafficking; and slavery. CIW has been strengthened by the creation of the consumer network (in 2000) and with the developments of the Anti-Slavery Campaign and Fair Food Program.
In 2011, CIW launched the Fair Food Program, which is a worker-driven, consumer-powered social responsibility program and an exemplary model of its kind. The program exists to ensure that workers picking fruits and vegetables have humane working conditions and fair wages by harnessing the power of responsible consumer demand. The program began as a loose network of the farm-workers, Florida tomato pickers, and purchasers of this produce, and has since expanded to include retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Subway, and Walmart.
The major retailers commit to paying a little more for produce to increase wages and living condition and the retailers also commit to only buying produce from farms that don’t violate the humane working and wage conditions of Fair Food Program.
In 2001 the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), launched a series of campaigns and boycotts of major food retailers to persuade them to signed on to the Fair Food Program agreement to improve farm conditions for Florida farm workers. The following companies signed onto the Fair Food Program:
- 2015 – Ahold
- 2015 – The Fresh Market
- 2014 – Walmart
- 2012 – Chipotle Mexican Grill
- 2012 – Trader Joe’s
- 2010 – Sodexo
- 2010 – Aramark
- 2009 – Compass Group
- 2009 – Bon Appétit Management Company
- 2008 – Subway
- 2008 – Whole Foods Market
- 2008 – Burger King
- 2007 – McDonalds
- 2005 – Yum! Brands (Taco Bell)
Wendy’s and Publix have refused to join the Fair Food Program (FFP).
Wendy’s not only didn’t sign on but has also stopped buying tomatoes from Florida since the implementation of the FFP. Rather than support an industry setting new standards for human rights, Wendy’s took its tomato purchases to Mexico, where workers continue to confront wage theft, sexual harassment, child labor, and even slavery without access to protections.
Huffington Post: Fair Food Program
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