Pax Christi USA has a long history of working to support the goals of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
and their campaigns for justice for farmworkers. Last week, we received a request from Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida
to help them gather signatures for a letter
to be sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. In November, the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships lifted up the CIW's Fair Food Program
as a powerful model for addressing human trafficking here in the U.S. As such, a variety of faith-based groups are using the opportunity to urge the USDA to embrace the model and purchase tomatoes for school lunches and market stabilization through the Fair Food Program.
Click here to read the letter and to add your signature.
MORE NEWS FROM THE CIW!
1. New Campaign: Call on Wendy's to support farmworkers, fair food
In addition to the ongoing supermarket campaigns, the CIW has officially decided on their next campaign - calling on fast-food restaurant chain Wendy's to join the program! Wendy's was chosen for a few major reasons, the most central being that, as we recently learned, Wendy's is one of the very largest buyers of Florida tomatoes in the restaurant industry, which means the potential for a significant increase in the penny-per-pound bonus farmworkers are now seeing. And of the five largest fast food corporations in the country - McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, Yum! Brands (Taco Bell), and Wendy's - Wendy's is the only one not participating in the Fair Food Program.
The CIW has sent Wendy's letters steadily since 2005, and they attended the shareholder meeting and spoke with the CEO in 2010 and 2011, but even a recent letter explaining that a campaign would need to begin if the CIW didn't hear back was met with silence. So the CIW is now requesting that trusted and esteemed organizations send Wendy's leadership a letter of support this month. Stay tuned for next steps...
2. The March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food
The CIW is planning a two-week march, March 3-17, to grocery giant Publix's headquarters in Lakeland, Florida. If you live in Florida or will be visiting during that time, consider joining the March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food, whether for an afternoon or several days. Check the CIW website in the weeks to come for other ways you can be supportive of the March and farmworkers.