USA: Immokalee, Florida farmworkers protest to demand Publix supermarkets agree to living wage & decent working conditions - Publix responds

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17 October 2009

Farmworkers picket Publix wanting grocery chain to pay more for tomatoes [USA]

Author: Liz Freeman, Naples Daily News [USA]

About 50 farmworkers and supporters of Immokalee farmworkers picketed a Publix in Naples on Saturday morning, calling for the Florida-based grocer to pay more for tomatoes and take a stand against inhumane conditions for tomato pickers... The coalition has...received a penny-a-pound increase from major restaurant chains and other businesses such as Taco Bell [part of YUM!], McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods and Compass Group. The group also wants Publix to adopt a code of conduct that would include a zero tolerance on slavery... Kim Kavazanjian,...a spokeswoman Saturday for the coalition [said] “Right now Publix is buying from two companies implicated in slavery case in 2008,”...referring to slavery victims that were taken to work on farms owned by Six L’s and Pacific Tomato Growers [part of Sunripe Produce]. The case was prosecuted last December... A Publix spokeswoman, who arrived from Lakeland, said this is the first time the coalition has demonstrated outside of Publix. “Our official position is, we don’t get involved in the middle of labor disputes between suppliers and other organizations,” said Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous. “We urge both groups to come to the table to find a resolution.”

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29 September 2009

Editorial: Publix should join agreement

Author: Fort Myers News-Press [USA]

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has concluded a three-way agreement with East Coast Growers and Compass, the world's largest food-service company, to improve Florida tomato pickers' pay and working conditions... Money pledged by earlier signatories had not been reaching workers because of the refusal of the powerful Florida Tomato Growers Exchange to pass it on. But East Coast Growers has dropped out of the exchange in order to pay the difference... That suggests that it makes even more sense now for Publix to join the agreement. It's the right thing to do, and it's good public relations for a company that cares a lot about its image. [also refers to Yum Brands, McDonald's, Burger King, Whole Foods]

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