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Coalition of Immokalee Workers

NEPA IWW Delivers A Message to Wendy's: We Want Fair Food

By Alex Lotorto - IWW Local 570, June 4, 2016

On Saturday, members of the Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Workers of the World (NEPA IWW) picketed on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton in support of a nationwide Wendy's boycott due to farmworker abuses.

Jon Christiansen, an IWW delegate and faculty at Marywood University, and Branch Secretary Treasurer Brendan Regan delivered a letter to the Wendy's restaurant manager asking him to pass it along to his district manager, which he agreed to do. Throughout the lunch hour, the picket persuaded more than a dozen customers to leave the restaurant in support.

As of March 3rd 2016, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has declared a consumer boycott of Wendy's due to the company's refusal to sign on to their Fair Food Program. Not only has Wendy's refused to sign on with the groundbreaking program to address decades-old farm labor abuses, but the company also stopped sourcing their tomatoes from Florida altogether, opting instead to source their tomatoes from Mexico, where the widespread denial of human rights in the produce industry was the subject of an in-depth expose by the Los Angeles Times just one year ago.

Instead of joining the Fair Food Program and its widely-acclaimed, uniquely successful worker-driven model of social responsibility, Wendy’s released a new supplier code of conduct this past January that contains no effective mechanisms for worker participation or enforcement. Wendy’s new code represents the very worst of the traditional corporate approach to social responsibility driven by public relations concerns rather than the verifiable protection of human rights. The Northeast Pennsylvania IWW supports the CIW and their boycott, and calls on Wendy's to sign on to the Fair Food Program in order to guarantee basic human rights for farmworkers.

ABOUT THE FAIR FOOD PROGRAM: The Fair Food Program, created by the Presidential Medal-winning Coalition of Immokalee Workers, is a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and fourteen major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart, heralded as “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US on the front page of the New York Times. Participating retailers agree to purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment.

Retailers also pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out directly to workers by their employers, doubling the piece rate workers receive per pound picked. Since the Program’s inception in 2011, buyers have paid over $20 million into the FFP. In 2015, the Program expanded for the first time beyond Florida to tomato fields in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, and in the 2015-2016 season, the Fair Food Program expanded to two new Florida crops, strawberries and bell peppers.

EcoUnionist News #104 - Special #BreakingFree 2016 Edition

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, May 17, 2016

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

Ongoing Mobilizations:

The Thin Green Line:

Just Transition:

Bread and Roses:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Whistleblowers:

The Future of the Food Justice Movement

By Rory Smith - Truthout, May 7, 2016 ©Truthout; may not be reused without permission.

The food justice movement -- a loose but expansive conglomeration of organizations working to create a more just food system in the United States -- has accomplished a great deal over the last 30 years. But can it manage to converge in its diversity and create a countermovement potent enough to transform the current food regime? Or is it too shallow and too spread, destined to disappear in its disjointedness.

Things may seem a little out of sorts when one in six Americans -- residents of the most affluent country on the planet -- don't have enough to eat, and when the percentage of hungry people in the United States has gone up 57 percent since the late 1990s. Sprinkle in that little detail about how Black and Latino neighborhoods are often left practically devoid of fresh produce but flooded with fast food restaurants (something that contributes to high rates of obesity, diabetes and thyroid disease), and you might start to question one or two things.

Toss in the fact that many of the 2 million farm laborers who produce US consumers' fruits and vegetables are not only subjected to brutal labor conditions but also can't afford to consume the very same food they pick, and you might really start to wonder. And when you top off this gallimaufry with one more slight detail -- that there are 1 billion people around the world suffering from malnourishment, a number that hasn't changed significantly since the 1970s -- the inequity of the current food regime becomes pretty clear. It was the food justice movement that first recognized this reality, and it has spent the last 30 years challenging and redressing these inequalities.

The Black Panthers' Free Breakfast for School Children Program, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, and the family farming caucuses that swept the United States during the 1980s were early proponents of food justice. And while these original players have been all but subsumed by the passage of time, they have been replaced by hundreds of thousands of farmworkers, urban and rural farmers, activists, consumers and academics who are all working to institute a fairer and more just food system. This effort is what Eric Holt-Giménez, the executive director of Food First, calls "converging in our diversity," and it is the linchpin of creating a just food system: a system that stresses the right of communities everywhere to produce, distribute and have equal access to healthy food, irrespective of class, gender or ethnicity.

Just when that Rust Cohle-like pessimism seems to have obtruded on our collective consciousness -- foregrounded by our failure to engineer any overhaul of the US financial system and scientists' incredulous predictions on global warming -- the food justice movement could be that slow-cooked countermovement that we have all been waiting for. Everyone has some kind of a relationship with food. It is the cornerstone of culture and life, as well as of the capitalist system. If any revolution is going to be successful, this seems like a good place for it to start.

EcoUnionist News #53

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, June 23, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

Bread and Roses:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Carbon Bubble:

Just Transition:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC; Hashtags: #greenunionism #greensyndicalism

EcoUnionist News #45

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 1, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

Bread and Roses:

USW Refinery Strike:

Carbon Bubble:

Just Transition:

1267-Watch:

Health and Safety:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

The Largest Climate March in the History of the Planet…

By the Coalition of Immokalee Workers - CIW Online, September 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

This afternoon, over a dozen CIW members joined people from all over the globe — New York families, Superstorm Sandy survivors, indigenous groups, Chinese farmworkers, and everyone in between — in what is being called “the largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet”  Organizers estimate that a record-breaking 310,000 individuals came out to join the People’s Climate March, filling the city’s streets from the heights of Central Park down to lower Manhattan.  

The experience spurred this powerful reflection from CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo:

As farmworkers, we are deeply affected by climate change and environmental degradation.  First, it affects our work — extreme temperatures and other impacts of climate change have a direct impact on farmworkers.  Second, and most importantly, we are all connected.  We all must fight for a better future, and in order for us to leave a better world for our children, we must have clean air, clean water, and sustainable energy.  It is time the major corporations contributing to climate change to take responsibility for their actions and to start protecting the environment.  The planet is the most important gift that we have. 

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