CIW announces that Walmart has joined the Fair Food Program!

World’s largest retailer to join groundbreaking Fair Food Program; commits to work with CIW to expand Fair Food Program beyond Florida and to other crops
Just moments ago, at a ceremony under the shade of a watermelon packing shed at a farm outside of Immokalee, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers announced that Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has joined the CIW’s Fair Food Program.
“Not only will thousands of hard-working farmworkers see concrete improvements to their lives,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW, “but millions of consumers will learn about the Fair Food Program” through the implementation of this accord.

This agreement will strengthen and expand the transformation already underway in Florida’s tomato fields, with an approximate 30,000 workers benefiting directly and immediately.  Specifically, Walmart has committed to work with CIW on the following objectives:

  • Expand the Fair Food Program beyond Florida to its tomato purchases from participating Florida-based growers with operations outside the state during the summer harvest season;
  • Reward those Florida tomato suppliers whose operations best reflect the principles of the Fair Food Program with longer term purchase commitments;
  • Work over time to expand the Fair Food Program to other crops beyond tomatoes in its produce supply chain;
  • Work with its Florida tomato suppliers to build the current Fair Food Premium directly into Walmart’s cost for Florida tomatoes, with the growers continuing to pass on the Fair Food bonus to their workers as part of the established, traceable payment system that is monitored by the Fair Food Standards Council;
  • Support the CIW and its participating Florida tomato suppliers to eventually achieve a higher, more sustainable bucket rate paid to workers for harvesting tomatoes. This change will streamline the financial foundation of the Fair Food Program to focus resources on raising the bar for ethical farm labor conditions beyond the Florida tomato industry
For the full press release and CIW’s initial analysis, click here.

Alexandra Guáqueta, chair of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, joined the CIW for the announcement.  “We are here to support the Immokalee workers and the Fair Food Program, which offers such promise for us all,” she said.  “It’s great to see the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, join this kind of ground-breaking accountability arrangement.”

As this historic agreement makes headlines across the nation and globe, it begs one question, in CIW’s words: “What now, Publix?  What possible pretext could Publix turn to now to justify its refusal to join the Fair Food Program, quickly becoming the recognized gold standard for the protection of human rights in the US produce industry today?”  See the CIW site for a fuller analysis.

Stay tuned in the coming days for press updates, news and analysis from this historic accord, and please share the news far and wide! 

Interfaith Action of SW Florida
People of faith partnering with farmworkers to cultivate justice in the fields
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