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Grower reaches landmark deal with workers - Another Manatee grower skeptical of Pacific Tomato Growers’ motives [USA]

Author: Timothy Wolfrum, Bradenton Herald [USA], Published on: 14 October 2010

A leading Palmetto-based tomato producer is encouraging other growers to follow its lead and agree to improve wages and working conditions for Florida’s farmworkers. Pacific Tomato Growers [part of Sunripe Produce] and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers announced an unprecedented deal Wednesday that will create an accounting system to pass additional money to the workers and includes complaint, health and safety programs that actively involve the workers...“I think it’s ironic that a company that has moved the majority of its operations out of Florida into Mexico is the one cutting a deal with CIW,” said Bob Spencer, vice president of Palmetto’s West Coast Tomato...Florida Tomato Growers Exchange Executive Vice President Reggie Brown said he had no opinion about Wednesday’s announcement and isn’t sure if it will set a precedent for other Florida growers...The exchange initially prohibited its members from participating in wage supplementation programs... Brown said the exchange now offers a pass-through program that would help members make sure their workers are getting the extra penny per pound...But no companies are using the program, he said. [also refers to McDonald's, Taco Bell (part of YUM!), Whole Foods, Aramark, Taylor & Fulton Packing]

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