Law and Disorder Radio

Immokalee Workers Interview

Immokalee Workers: Trader Joe’s Victory, Campaign Turns To Publix Supermarkets

Earlier this month, Trader Joe’s and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) announced they have signed an agreement that will formalize the ways in which Trader Joe’s will work with the CIW and Florida tomato growers to support the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  The efforts to push the farm worker living standards above slave labor is gathering momentum in Florida. Now efforts turn to Publix supermarkets. The 28 billion dollar supermarket giant has refused to pay a single penny more to help end farm worker poverty.  The Fair Food Program campaign has shifted its focus onto Publix and we get an update from Jake Ratner and CIW member Elbin Perez.

Elbin Perez:

  • We finally won with Trader Joe’s and its extremely important for us.
  • One of the main tactics we use is protest. We were planning an enormous protest the day Trader Joe’s opened their first Florida store about 30 miles from Immokalee in Naples.
  • With that pressure, the day before they opened the store, they signed an agreement with us.
  • Historically some received some poverty wages there are no rights in the fields and workers have had no voice in the work place. What are rights without enforcement.
  • Workers are now seeing an increase in their paychecks in the form of a bonus that they are receiving from companies like Trader Joe’s.
  • Currently we’re also asking Publix to do the same thing and to sign on to the Fair Food Agreement.
  • What we’re calling for is a fast. A fast to begin outside of the Publix headquarters which is located in Lakeland Florida. There refusal to participate in these agreements will result in more hunger from more workers.

Guest – Elbin Perez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers member.

Translator:  Jake Ratner -son of co-host Michael Ratner. Jake graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s traveled and studied in Cuba and Bolivia, South America. He now works with the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers.

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