The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a farmworker-led organization based in Immokalee, Florida has called for actions targeting Trader Joe’s supermarkets. Farmworkers picking tomatoes for Trader Joe’s earn 40-50 cents for every 32 pound bucket of tomatoes they harvest–wages that have not risen since 1978.
Grinding poverty leaves farmworkers vulnerable to further exploitation from employers. In the most extreme cases, forced labor. Since 1997, over 1,000 fruit and vegetable harvesters have escaped slavery rings, including both documented and undocumented workers as well as U.S. citizens in the agricultural fields of Florida (and the southeastern United States).
The Campaign for Fair Food aims to take a preventative approach by asking large corporations, like Trader Joe’s, to leverage their high volume purchasing power to pay a premium price for tomatoes as well as sign a human rights agreement (like large corporations – Whole Foods and Subway have done) to agree to more humane standards in the fields, including a zero tolerance policy on forced labor, that is created and implemented by the workers themselves.
Just Harvest USA has informed Trader Joe’s of these issues as well as identified stores carrying tomatoes from farms whose crew leaders were found guilty of slave labor in 2008. A year later, Trader Joe’s has responded with silence and continue to boast about the sustainability of its food.
We ask them: Are poverty wages and modern-day slavery sustainable?!
NO! Meet with the CIW NOW!
Tuesday, March 18th 18:00-19:00
Trader Joe’s on 14th St., Manhattan, NYC