USA: Pacific Tomato Growers, one of largest in US, agrees with Immokalee workers on worker safety protections, wages

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Article
14 October 2010

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

Author: Timothy Wolfrum, Bradenton Herald [USA]

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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Article
14 October 2010

Tomato grower, harvesters strike historic accord [USA]

Author: Amy Bennett-Williams, Fort Myers News-Press [USA]

After years of impasse, one of the nation's largest tomato growers has made peace with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers...Pacific Tomato Growers [part of Sunripe Produce] pledged to improve its working conditions and pay harvesters a penny more per pound...The agreement, in effect today, is the first forged directly between the 4,000-member grass-roots group and a grower... Some...improvements...[include] shade in the fields,...health and safety programs, worker-to-worker education and a way to resolve complaints...Pacific's history with the group had been troubled...: In 2008, members of Immokalee's Navarrete family went to federal prison for enslaving 12 workers, whom they brought to work in Pacific's fields, as well as Six L's...The deal is just a first step but one that can lead "a model for generations of farmworkers and farmers to come," said the coalition's Lucas Benitez. [also refers to McDonald's, Burger King, Whole Foods, Sodexo, Publix, Compass Group]

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Article
13 October 2010

Pacific Tomato Growers, Coalition of Immokalee Workers Sign Landmark Agreement for Social Responsibility in Florida Tomato Fields [USA]

Author: Pacific Tomato Growers, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the country's oldest and largest tomato producers [part of Sunripe Produce], and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Florida-based farmworker organization spearheading the Campaign for Fair Food, have signed an innovative agreement that sets new standards for social responsibility and accountability in Florida's tomato industry...Not only is it the first formal agreement between CIW and a major tomato grower, but the new accord establishes several practical systems designed to implement cooperatively the key principles of the Code of Conduct at the heart of the Campaign for Fair Food. [also refers to McDonald's, Whole Foods, Compass Group]

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Article
13 October 2010

Video: Coalition of Immokalee Workers announces first pact with a tomato grower [USA]

Author: Naples Daily News; video from NBC-2 WBBH TV [USA]

...[The] Coalition of Immokalee Workers...took a “significant step forward” Wednesday by signing its first agreement with a major tomato grower. Pacific Tomato Growers [part of Sunripe] and the coalition announced that they have agreed to create an accounting system to pay workers the extra penny-per-pound the group has fought for in its Campaign for Fair Food. The agreement also includes a complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program and a worker-to-worker education process...Currently, the group is targeting Publix Supermarkets, asking them to commit to the penny-per-pound program. [Also refers to Taco Bell (part of YUM!), McDonald’s, Burger King, Whole Foods]

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