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Coalition of Immokalee Workers campaign for Ahold to join Fair Food Program

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and allied groups have campaigned for several years for Ahold, which owns the US supermarket chains Giant, Martin's Food Markets and Stop & Shop, and the online grocery retailer Peapod, to join the Fair Food Program.  This programme, according to CIW, "consists of a wage increase supported by [an] additional penny per pound paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes, and a human-rights-based Code of Conduct...including zero tolerance for forced labor and sexual assault" as well as training for workers, a complaints mechanism, and auditing of farms.  Numerous restaurant chains including McDonald's and YUM! (which owns Taco Bell, KFC and others), supermarket chains including Trader Joe's, Walmart and Whole Foods, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, and other businesses have joined the Fair Food Program.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ahold to respond to the following items:

“Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers: My Hopes for 2014”, on Moyers & Company, 5 Jan 2014 
excerpt: "[F]armworkers in Florida’s tomato industry have...a voice being heard by their employers through a system designed by us workers...Now, workers can report any abuse without fear of retaliation and are receiving the first pay increase in decades...[But] we are dismayed by corporations like...Ahold who refuse to join 11 food industry leaders in being part of the historic changes taking root through the Fair Food Program..."

“Immokalee to Amsterdam: CIW Takes Fair Food Challenge to Ahold Shareholders”, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, 14 Apr 2014
excerpt: "NESRI will join its partner, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, in a visit to the Annual Shareholders Meeting of Ahold...[where it] will be challenged...to join the CIW's Fair Food Program..."

Letter to J.G.M. Alders, Chairman of Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn [PDF], by Kerry Kennedy, President of RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights, re “The Risk of Human Rights Abuse in Ahold’s Supply Chain”, 3 Apr 2012

"CIW Response to Ahold", Coalition of Immokalee Workers, 22 Apr 2011

"Timeline of CIW’s and Campaign for Fair Food’s Engagement of Ahold" [PDF], covering events 2005-2014 (engagement with Ahold began in 2007)

 
Ahold response [PDF]
Ahold had previously responded to CIW in 2013 [PDF].

Following the Ahold shareholders' meeting, CIW issued this statement: 

"Royal Ahold executives sidestep the call for Fair Food — again!", 3 May 2014

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