World’s largest retailer officially joins Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program
Walmart representatives John Amaya (left), Tom Leech (center) and CIW’s Lucas Benitez look on as CIW’s Gerardo Reyes Chavez (far right) signs historic agreement at a Lipman Produce farm outside of Immokalee
January 16, 2014 – Putting pen to paper among the furrows of Florida’s fields, Walmart, its Florida tomato suppliers, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers made history this afternoon by signing an agreement<http://org2.
In attendance at the announcement, made at a tomato farm just outside Immokalee, was Alexandra Gu?queta, chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, who provided the perspective of that body:
It’s great to see the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, join this kind of ground-breaking accountability arrangement. [The Program] combines law enforcement with rules agreed to by the parties which go beyond existing regulation. Together these deliver respect for human rights and better living standards for workers. read more<http://org2.salsalabs.
A joint press release<http://org2.salsalabs.
The addition of Walmart’s mammoth market power translates into tremendous, tangible gains for upwards of 30,000 farmworkers overnight, including the additional bonus in their weekly paychecks and/or increased support for the human rights protections now already guaranteed by the Program. And, as a model for the change that can occur within an industry, the agreement marks a new chapter in the world of social responsibility within the world’s food system.
Today, more than ever before, the news highlights the indefensible resistance of another major retailer, Publix Supermarkets, which for more than 4 years has refused even to sit down with farmworkers and learn about the sea change underway in their own backyard. With this agreement, even the vapid PR twist Publix has desperately clung to, demanding, that the penny be “put in the price,” is put to rest once and for all, as the agreement does just that, building the Fair Food Premium directly into the cost Walmart pays for its tomatoes.
As we celebrate the historic news, let’s not skip a beat, and turn our eyes on all those who have refused to join, from Wendy’s, to Publix, to Kroger, and demand they hesitate no longer.
Content on behalf of Jake Ratner