Far-reaching power of Fair Food Program model to eliminate sexual harassment and assault lifted up by Time’ Up Entertainment:  The CIW “used consumer power to push those farms that have no incentive to take action, and in doing so changed the worker power dynamic. We have to think of something for this industry that changes the power structure.”

Since the national rise of the #MeToo movement, workers from across a wide spectrum of workplaces in the U.S. – from the movie sets of Hollywood and the halls of our nation’s hospitals to the back kitchens of restaurants and the country’s agricultural fields – declared that the time had come to bring an end to sexual violence in the workplace.  Two years since #MeToo became a national phenomenon, this powerful public movement has entered a new phase:  With the ubiquitous nature of sexual harassment now plainly exposed, how does the movement take the next step toward lasting, transformational solutions?

For farmworkers across the Eastern Seaboard, the solution is crystal clear: The unparalleled power of the Fair Food Program is that next step. With its wall-to-wall education on the right to work free from sexual violence, paired with a swift and effective complaint resolution mechanism and clear auditing protocols – and backed by market consequences when violations do occur – the Fair Food Program has yanked up the stubborn roots of sexual harassment and assault in the fields.  PBS Frontline called the FFP “unique” in the country as a preventative program to address sexual violence.  The Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, the CNN Freedom Project, The Nation, Civil Eats, the United Nations SHIFT Project, and the Equal Economic Opportunity Commission declared the Fair Food Program one of the country’s (if not the world’s) most successful models to address sexual harassment in the workplace.

In the words of Alejandrina Carrera, a farmworker on a Fair Food Program farm today who told CNN of her experience as the victim of sexual violence in the fields twenty years ago at the age of 14, “You can work freely. You’re not going to be harassed. You’re not going to be insulted. There’s more respect now.”

The transformative impact of the model established by the Fair Food Program has not gone unnoticed.  In the fashion industry, the Model Alliance partnered with the CIW to design and launch the RESPECT Program, built to protect models from sexual harassment and health and safety hazards (LINK).  In Hollywood, actors like Alyssa Milano and Amy Schumer have not only lifted up the model and its impact, but jumped in to lend their support to the Fair Food movement, calling on major fast food hold out Wendy’s to join the FFP.   In an op/ed in The Wrap this past spring, Alyssa Milano declared:

The Immokalee workers’ laser focus on power is a lesson for us all, as we stand up and declare Time’s Up on sexual harassment and assault. Sexual violence is a crime of power. Redress the underlying imbalance of power and we can end it…

…We all need to take a page from the Immokalee workers’ book across all work environments, including and starting with the entertainment industry. We can eradicate sexual harassment and violence for the next generation. All we have to do is make it bad for business.

Now, that hopeful message is spreading.  Last month, the leaders of Time’s Up Entertainment, the entertainment arm of the Time’s Up organization that emerged from the #MeToo movement in Hollywood to address sexual harassment and assault, addressed a room full of film editors and post-production professionals to talk about the future of the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood.  Having identified major obstacles to entertainment workers’ ability to safely and accessibly report abuse – and then to see an effective investigation and appropriate consequences follow – Nithya Raman, former executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, and Mara Nasatir, the organization’s director of initiatives, pushed the crowd to “think of something for this industry that changes the power structure.”

And for the best example out there of transformational change, Ms. Raman turned to none other than the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  For a full accounting of the event, we turn to CineMontage, the online hub of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild.  Here are some excerpts from their article, “Time’s Up Takes on Latest Frontier in Battle Against Sexual Harassment and Inequality: Post-Production”, which offers a fascinating window into the entertainment industry’s discussions on uprooting sexual harassment and inequality:

On Wednesday evening (Aug. 21), Motion Picture Editors Guild members and guests from other unions gathered to hear two representatives of Time’s Up Entertainment address the topic of sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace.

Time’s Up Entertainment is the entertainment industry arm of Time’s Up, a workplace safety and advocacy organization. It was the first time that Time’s Up Entertainment has visited a below-the-line industry gathering, according to MPEG National Executive Director Cathy Repola.

Repola introduced the presentation, welcoming Local 700 members as well as other locals including Locals 33, 44, 729, 800, and 871. She stressed her goal of bringing the message of Time’s Up to more members...





SAVE THE DATE: Farmworkers announce major Wendy’s Boycott mobilization in NYC, Nov. 18, 2019!

September 12, 2019

Get ready, Big Apple!  Farmworkers and consumers will converge on New York City November 18th for Wendy’s Boycott march! The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is coming back to New York! As plans for ramping up the Wendy’s Boycott on campuses and in communities around the country begin to take root for the fall – with the Student/Farmworker Alliance Encuentro just two short weeks away – farmworkers in Immokalee want YOU to save the date for a major mobilization this November in New York City.  Following 2018’s two powerful marches through the streets of Manhattan – the Time’s Up Wendy’s March, […]

OP/ED in United Press International: “Europe should follow Florida’s example for how to treat farmworkers…”

September 6, 2019

Dean of Pardee/RAND Graduate School, Susan Marquis: “The Coalition’s Fair Food Program essentially created a new model for agricultural labor and corporate social responsibility – and transformed the tomato fields from Florida to New Jersey… … As Florida’s tomato farms show, it’s possible to transform European agriculture from a situation rife with exploitation to one that benefits every partner.”  Over the past several years, the trickle of bleak headlines emerging from farm fields in Italy and Spain has turned into a torrent, laying bare the growing human rights crisis faced by the women and men, largely migrant, who labor to harvest […]

NEW VIDEO: Support young leaders traveling to Immokalee, FL, this month for the #2019Encuentro!

September 3, 2019

With the September Encuentro around the corner, SFA needs YOUR help to make it happen!  Donate here to support the Encuentro, and inspire a new generation of young leaders to take action in the Fair Food Movement. We’re less than one month out from the SFA Encuentro, and the Student/Farmworker Alliance can’t do it without you!  On September 26-29, 2019, dozens of young people from across the country will be gathering in Immokalee to learn about Fair Food history and strategy, and most importantly, dive into concrete plans to turn up the heat in the Wendy’s Boycott on college campuses […]

BREAKING: WSR marches on! Groundbreaking human rights model puts down roots on a third continent with garment workers’ victory in Lesotho…

August 22, 2019

Levi Strauss & Co, the Children’s Place, and Kontoor Brands sign “legally-binding WSR agreement… to address long-standing issues of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the[ir] Lesotho-based suppliers”; New Lesotho program “modeled after the Fair Food Program’s approach to combating sexual harassment and… will feature an independent complaint body similar to the Fair Food Standards Council”; Latest victory demonstrates power of collaboration through burgeoning WSR Network to spread real, worker-led human rights protections in global supply chains! First, the facts.  Here’s an excerpt from a statement on the landmark agreement from Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), one of several US-based organizations […]

“Deeply inspiring and profoundly important”: Sweeping new history of US labor debuts to stellar reviews…

August 12, 2019

“Beaten Down, Worked Up,” by former New York Times labor correspondent Steven Greenhouse, called a “riveting account of the rise and fall of organized labor,” by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; Greenhouse devotes entire chapter to the history of the CIW, from the early strikes in the 1990s to the Campaign for Fair Food today, including a detailed look at the ground-breaking success of the Fair Food Program! Steven Greenhouse, the award-wining reporter who spent nearly two decades covering labor for the New York Times, has published his second book, titled “Beaten Down, Worked Up,” a thoroughgoing history and […]

One Saturday, two Americas…

August 6, 2019

Harsh reality of hatred and division shatters celebration of unity and justice as two starkly opposed visions of the future clash on one Saturday afternoon… Today we had planned to post a photo report from the CIW’s visit to DC over this past weekend, a celebration of the CIW’s decades-long fight for dignity and justice for the workers who put food on America’s tables, centered around a visit to the CIW’s Statue of Liberty at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.   But Saturday’s events in El Paso, Texas, derailed those plans. The post was going to begin with photos […]

Blockbuster new cookbook by Chef José Andrés highlights CIW and Fair Food Program!…

July 30, 2019

New York Times bestseller: “Fair Food Program… takes direct aim at the food system’s gravest injustices and holds major retailers accountable for the food they sell.” Chef José Andrés – the irrepressible, James Beard Award-winning, Spanish chef who, among many other things in his non-stop mission to feed and change the world, traveled to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria and provided meals for hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were upended by that devastating storm – has done it again.  He has published his third New York Times bestselling cookbook, titled “Vegetables Unleashed,” and this time […]

UK’s Sunday Times Letter to the Editor highlights Fair Food Program as solution to forced labor, sexual abuse in European agriculture!

July 25, 2019

Sunday Times UK Letter to the Editor:  The Fair Food Program “harnesses the purchasing power of buyers through legally binding agreements that hold buyers accountable, and it has eradicated slavery and sexual abuse in the fields.” Earlier this month (and in the wake of the horrific accounts of exploitation facing migrant workers in the Italian and Spanish agricultural industries in The Guardian), the United Kingdom’s Sunday Times published an article on the disturbing conditions on farms in British consumers’ own back yards.  Titled “Britain’s biggest trafficking gang used slaves to supply top supermarkets,” the breaking investigative piece not only detailed […]

Sept. 26-29, 2019: Student/Farmworker Alliance announces annual Encuentro in Immokalee!

July 14, 2019

Students, youth set to gather for massive strategy session for the Wendy’s Boycott, Boot the Braids Campaign… Even as CIW and Alliance for Fair Food organizers criss-cross the United States on a series of “Boot the Braids” Truth Tours this summer, young people around the country are preparing for one the most exciting times of the year:  The annual SFA Encuentro in Immokalee!  Building off this past spring’s “4 for Fair Food Tour” and the precedent-setting victory in the Boot the Braids Campaign at the University of Michigan, students are readying for the Encuentro, during which SFA activists flood into […]

United Church of Christ presents the “Movement Maker” Award to CIW!

July 2, 2019

Rev. Traci Blackmon, UCC Associate Minister of Justice and Local Ministries: The CIW “has embodied [the UCC ethos] with clarity, determination, resilience and strength on behalf of farmworkers whose holy work of planting and harvesting benefits us all.” Last week, on June 22nd, thousands of church leaders rose to their feet in a rousing ovation as the United Church of Christ named the Coalition of Immokalee Workers the recipients of their prestigious Movement Maker Award as the General Synod met in Milwaukee. The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Associate Minister of Justice and Local Ministries who hails from the frontlines of Ferguson, […]