USA: Fair Food Coalition urges Ahold, Publix, Wendy's & others to sign pact on tomato farm workers' rights

Protesters urge Wendy's to sign Fair Food Agreement - credit: Liz Joyce, WhyHungerThe Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its allies have long urged companies that source from Florida tomato farms to sign the Fair Food agreement, which gives workers greater protections against forced labour and other abuses, and guarantees them a living wage.  Many companies have signed the agreement, including restaurant chains Burger King, Chipotle, McDonald's, Subway, and YUM! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell); food service firms Aramark, Bon Appetit/Compass and Sodexo; and supermarkets Trader Joe's, Walmart and Whole Foods, as well as the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange.  Publix supermarkets, Wendy's (fast food chain) and Ahold, which owns Giant and Stop & Shop supermarkets, have refused to sign.

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Article
15 May 2013

UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 'Impressed' With Fair Food Program

Author: Greg Asbed, Co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, in Huffington Post Blog

"The [UN] Working Group [on business & human rights] was impressed by how...governance gaps relating to labour issues were addressed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers"...The UN statement comes as the latest in a series of strong, high-level endorsements of the Fair Food Program [FPP], including last month's recognition by President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which lauded the FFP as "one of the most successful and innovative programs" in the world today in the fight to uncover -- and prevent -- modern-day slavery...The active participation of farmworkers...in the FFP model...distinguishes the program from virtually any other approach active in the field today...[T]he [FPP] and the UN's Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights arriving at the same place from very distinct points of departure: The human rights crisis is urgent, the safeguards in place are undeniably inadequate, and the key to a real, lasting solution is the participation -- better yet, the leadership -- of those affected by the abuses themselves. [Refers to Publix, Ahold, and Wendy's]

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Article
1 September 2012

Fair Food Program helps end the use of slavery in the tomato fields [USA]

Author: [opinion] Holly Burkhalter, International Justice Mission, in Washington Post

Since 1997, the Justice Department has prosecuted seven cases of slavery in the Florida agricultural industry — four involving tomato harvesters — freeing more than 1,000 men and women. The...catalogue of horrors: abductions, pistol whippings, confinement at gunpoint, debt bondage and starvation wages...Today, virtually all Florida tomato growers have joined the Fair Food Program, which includes a code of conduct outlawing debt bondage and requiring humane conditions...Shade stations, toilets and drinking water are appearing...[R]etailers, pressed by consumers and civil society groups [led by Coalition of Immokalee Workers], saw the market and publicity benefits of ethical buying practices...But the Fair Food Program won’t be sustainable unless...grocery stores — [join]...Despite years of pressure...major supermarket chains including Ahold, Kroger’s and Publix have snubbed the Fair Food Program...[and its system of] independent monitoring and evaluation. [also refers to Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Whole Foods, Aramark, Compass]

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