A new chapter in workers’ rights: CIW and Pacific Tomato Growers agree on social responsibility

The news about tomatoes in America just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.

Last week, we all said thanks to Eurofresh for providing consumers with delicious, environment and worker-friendly produce. And just yesterday, Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the nation’s largest tomato growers, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) came together to sign a ground-breaking agreement to create new standards for social responsibility and accountability in Florida’s tomato industry.

For decades, CIW has been fighting for labor reforms in Florida’s tomato industry. With their Campaign for Fair Food, the organization has reached out to farm owners to bring an end to worker abuses such as lack of fair pay, health benefits, and safety training.

Thursday’s agreement, which goes into effect this season for the tomato grower’s 1,500 workers, implements some of the key principles of the Campaign for Fair Food’s Code of Conduct. These include:

  • Involving workers in implementing and promoting health and safety programs
  • Creating worker-to-worker education programs on employee rights
  • Providing a system for workers to file complaints against their employers in which a neutral party can help resolve disputes

CIW Co-Director Lucas Benitez touted the positive evolution in the relationship between farm owners and workers, but emphasized that this victory is only one step in creating a safe working environment for all agricultural employees.

As we turn the page on this new chapter in Florida agricultural history, I do want to make one thing crystal clear. We are not today claiming that we have achieved the changes sought by the Campaign for Fair Food. Rather, we are announcing that we have forged a plan of action that gives us a realistic chance to bring about those changes. This plan is designed precisely to address those unsustainable workplace conditions that have plagued Florida agriculture for so long, so that we can eliminate them and build a stronger foundation for the industry in the future. In other words, today, Pacific and CIW are embarking together on a road toward real social responsibility. If that road leads us where we think it will, it will be a model for generations of farmworkers — and farmers — to come.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 15th, 2010 at 12:04 pm and is filed under General, Labor Law Reform, jobs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “A new chapter in workers’ rights: CIW and Pacific Tomato Growers agree on social responsibility”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AmericanRightsAtWork and Doug Pennington, Briana Kerensky. Briana Kerensky said: New blog post! The news about #tomatoes in America keeps getting sweeter and sweeter http://bit.ly/brG8qE #ciw [...]

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