The Campaign for Fair Food Marches On

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April 6, 2011 by tristan savage

When we moved to Nashville, Tennessee we thought we would be coming to a place where workers take it lying down- as the bosses and the cynics say around here, “we don’t like unions in the South.”  But over the last year of working with the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Nashville-based Workers’ Dignity Project, we’ve learned from the best about what it means when we say “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Here’s a couple videos and a rundown of the recent mobilization in Tampa from The Fine Print:

On March 5, over 1,500 farmworkers and their allies marched through the streets of Tampa during a rally organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) as part of their Do the Right Thing tour.

CIW began in 1993 as small group of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida, looking out for each others’ interests. CIW now represents the collective voice of about 4,000 migrant workers of mostly Hispanic, Haitian, and Mayan descent, struggling for fair wages, affordable housing and stronger laws to prevent human rights violations on Florida’s fields.

Since 2005, CIW has struck deals with major corporations like Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonald’s, Aramark and Whole Foods, which have all agreed to pay one more cent per pound of tomatoes and use their market power to ensure better conditions for workers. Recently, CIW has shifted its focus to supermarkets, including Publix, which refuses to negotiate.

Publix’s current stance on sub-poverty wages, the over 1000 workers freed from slave labor in Florida over the last fifteen years, and the prevalence of sexual harassment in the tomato fields is:

“If there are some atrocities going on, it’s not our business.”
– Publix spokesperson Dwaine Stevens, 12/11/10

So a couple of weeks after a two dozen of us Nashville folks returned from the Tampa mobilization, we put on a protest at a local Publix. See, Publix is trying to expand -they told us they plan to open 20 stores in Nashville in the next few years- and we hope to persuade them that they can’t just hide from the systematic abuse of migrant farmworkers who bring us the food we eat. Here’s a news story on the Nashville protest, just a couple of weeks ago.

To get involved, check out the Fair Food committees all over the country– or start your own, to support the fight for food justice from field to table.

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One thought on “The Campaign for Fair Food Marches On

  1. Brooks W. Wilson says:

    When I was a little boy in South Gate, California, in 1935, lathers would follow a load of lath from the material house to the job site where it was to be unloaded and then bid on the job of putting it on the walls. Obviously, there were always more workers than jobs. Sometimes the price paid would barely buy gasoline back home.

    North in the Central Valley, Okies and Arkies from the dust bowl who had been lured out from their foreclosed farms by the promise of good jobs harvesting crops. Like the lathers in South Gate, they were forced to bid on price with the same tragic results.

    The only way these poor people ever got a fair deal was when they bargained as a body through an organized union. Now, sadly, our government has been purchased or otherwise taken over by the corporations who want to return to the good old days of 1935.

    What is distressing is that the many of the same people who are going to be returned to the day of servitude to the merchant are subservient to this movement. Even more distressing is the fact that so many Christians in general and Mormons in particularly only selectively accept the Scriptures and ignore so many vital ones such as Acts 4:

    31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were aassembled together; and they were all filled with the bHoly Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

    32 And the multitude of them that believed were of aone heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that bought of the things which he cpossessed was his own; but they had all things dcommon.

    33 And with great power gave the apostles awitness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great bgrace was upon them all.

    34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses asold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

    35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and adistribution was made unto every man according as he had bneed.

    36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed aBarnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

    37 Having land, sold it, and brought the amoney, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    and Mosiah 4:
    16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

    17 Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

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