Saturday, July 9, 2011

Farmworker Justice Breakfast & Trader Joe's Action, Saturday, July 16

Farmworker Justice Breakfast & Trader Joe's Action

Saturday, July 16 · 9:00am - 11:00am
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists

1924 Cedar St. (at Bonita), Berkeley, CA

Join the East Bay community in welcoming members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (a Florida-based farmworker organization) to California and learning about their innovative and highly successful Campaign for Fair Food.

Following breakfast, a short presentation, and a poetry reading by Bay Area's Rafael Jesús González, we'll walk down the street to Trader Joe's (1885 University Ave.) to demand that the company help end farm worker exploitation in its supply chain.

Bring your signs, drums and outdoor voices!

Help build a food system that respects workers' rights!

For more information, contact Damara Luce

Please "attend" here on Facebook and invite your friends.


By paying just one penny more per pound of tomatoes they purchase from Florida, Trader Joe's could help dramatically improve wages for farmworkers. Yet despite $8+ billion in sales last year (and being owned by a multi-billionaire family in Germany), they refuse to make a lasting commitment to do so.

From November through May, 90% of the tomatoes produced in the U.S. come from Florida, where farmworkers have long faced sweatshop conditions, including:

* Stagnant, sub-poverty wages
* No right to overtime pay
* No benefits whatsoever
* Sexual harassment
* In extreme cases, modern-day slavery

Nine other corporate food leaders -- including Whole Foods, McDonald's and Burger King -- have signed on to participate in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Fair Food Program, an innovative, worker-led solution to the human rights crisis in the fields. (The program includes a penny-per-pound premium for fairer wages and a strict code of conduct for better working conditions.)

Until Trader Joe's follows suit, it can expect growing discontent from consumers across the country.

The CIW, a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, FL, with over 4,000 members, seeks modern working conditions for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international labor standards. Among its accomplishments, the CIW has aided in the prosecution by the Department of Justice of six slavery operations and the liberation of well over 1,000 workers.

In addition, the CIW uses creative methods to educate consumers about human rights abuses in the U.S. agricultural industry, the need for corporate social responsibility, and how consumers can help workers realize their social change goals. The CIW's Campaign for Fair food has won unprecedented support for fundamental farm labor reforms from retail food industry leaders, with the goal of enlisting the market power of those companies to demand more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers.


* The True Cost of Tomatoes by Mark Bittman (New York Times, 6/14/11)

* Trader Joe's Reveals Its Inner WalMart (CIW website, 6/29/11)