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BREAKING NEWS: “A Giant step forward for farmworkers!”… Ahold, parent company to Giant, Stop & Shop, and Peapod, joins Fair Food Program!

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Chavez and Andrade at GIant Foods Washington DC with Fair Food program sign_Fotor

Gerardo Reyes Chavez of CIW (left) and Felis Andrade of Giant Food place a Fair Food sign next to tomatoes in Giant’s O Street store in Washington DC. Photo credit: Helena Coutinho

Ahold:  “The Fair Food Program is a time-tested leader in improving the lives of agricultural workers…”

CIW:  Ahold’s “leadership will send an invaluable message to the rest of the grocery industry that social responsibility is greatly strengthened when workers, suppliers and retailers work together toward a more modern, more humane agricultural industry.”

In a landmark development for the Fair Food Program, Ahold USA and the CIW announced today that Ahold has agreed to join the award-winning social responsibility program, bringing worker-certified Fair Food tomatoes to over 50 million new customers a month in nearly 780 new stores in 14 states.  Here below is an excerpt from the press release announcing today’s news.  You can find the release in its entirety here.

AHOLD USA JOINS THE COALITION OF IMMOKALEE WORKERS’
FAIR FOOD PROGRAM

Ahold USA Becomes the First Major Grocer in the U.S. to Participate in Acclaimed Effort to Improve the Lives of Farmworkers

Immokalee, FL, July 29, 2015 – Ahold USA today became the first of America’s major grocers to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program, the widely-acclaimed partnership to improve the lives of the country’s farmworkers. Ahold USA is the parent company of Stop & Shop, Giant Foods of Landover, Giant Foods of Carlisle, Martin’s and online grocer Peapod. With nearly 780 supermarkets across 14 states and the District of Columbia and 50 million customers each month, Ahold USA companies together represent one of the largest food retailing groups in the country.

The CIW was awarded a Presidential Medal earlier this year for its groundbreaking work in social responsibility, and its Fair Food Program – called “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in the Washington Post – protects the rights of tens of thousands of workers on farms across the east coast, from Florida to New Jersey.

Today’s announcement builds on the work that the CIW as well as Ahold USA and its suppliers have done to deliver responsibly sourced tomatoes to customers and to help improve conditions for farmworkers in Florida. Ninety percent of tomatoes produced in the United States from November toMay are grown in the state. Ahold USA’s support for the Fair Food Program will extend the retailer’s long track record on responsible product sourcing and strengthen the reach, impact and visibility of the CIW’s social responsibility efforts. Ahold USA’s participation in the program will increase the number of U.S. grocery stores carrying Fair Food tomatoes by approximately 75 percent.

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“We are truly proud to welcome Ahold USA into the Fair Food Program and excited about the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Ahold,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “Ahold USA is the first of the country’s major grocers to join the program and, as such, not only will its partnership help propel to new heights our efforts to protect farmworkers’ rights, but we believe its market leadership will send an invaluable message to the rest of the grocery industry that social responsibility is greatly strengthened when workers, suppliers and retailers work together toward a more modern, more humane agricultural industry.”

James McCann, Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA, said, “Ahold USA’s companies are deeply committed to responsible practices throughout their operations and to providing customers with great products at great prices from suppliers who share our dedication to strong ethical standards and fair treatment for workers. The cornerstone of this commitment is the Ahold Standards of Engagement, which commit our companies’ suppliers to these values. The Fair Food Program is a time-tested leader in improving the lives of agricultural workers, and we have observed the Program’s success over the past several years. Our companies and our customers care about the welfare of workers in our supply chain, and we believe now is the right time to begin an important new chapter in our partnership with the CIW.”

As part of this partnership, Ahold USA’s companies will:

  • Continue to purchase Florida tomatoes only from growers who participate in the CIW’s Fair Food Program, and expand the Fair Food Program’s standards to farms of participating growers in other states;
  • Work with the CIW to ensure timely, periodic inspections and audits of the participating farms that supply Ahold USA’s companies;
  • Pay a premium on tomatoes purchased from participating growers that growers will pass on to field workers;
  • Provide additional financial support for the Fair Food Standards Council, CIW’s partner in monitoring compliance by participating growers with the Fair Food Program standards; and
  • Support the Fair Food Program with expanded marketing and advertising, including in-store displays, online visibility and education materials for associates at Ahold USA companies.

Check back soon for much more from this fast-developing story!…

“Tear down the wall!”…

Over 100 Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) leaders march on Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio, call on Wendy’s to tear down the wall keeping the fast-food leader from joining the top human rights program in the US food industry today!As announced last week, when leaders of the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) learned that last weekend’s annual General Assembly was to take place in Wendy’s hometown of Columbus, OH, they wasted no time planning a demonstration at a local Wendy’s restaurant. Compelled by their deeply-held values of justice and long history of standing with farmworkers since the days of the Taco Bell boycott, […]

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Press Release: “Farmworkers, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Leaders to Hold Vigil at Wendy’s to Urge Fast Food Giant to Join” Fair Food Program!

“Wendy’s stands alone as the only major fast food chain refusing to join a program described on the front page of the New York Times in 2014 as ‘the best workplace monitoring program’ in the US”…From the press release announcing this Sunday’s action:Columbus, OH – On Sunday, July 19 at 6:15 p.m., organizations and members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from the U.S. and Canada, in attendance at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly, will join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) — an award-winning organization of Florida farmworkers — for a Farm Worker Support Vigil at Wendy’s […]

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Bestselling authors Eric Schlosser, Tracie McMillan weigh in on Fair Food Program!

Schlosser: “Everyone who eats fruits and vegetables should care about the farmworkers who harvest these foods.  Our good health depends upon their hard labor…”Today, we have two excellent stories from the Fair Food network we’d like to share with you.  The first comes from two of the most respected voices on the country’s food system today, the second from a young woman who will help her generation define the priorities of tomorrow’s food system.  Across the generations there is one thing they very much agree on:  It’s not enough for our food to be organic or local, it also must be fair.We’ll begin with Eric Schlosser, renowned author of Fair Food Nation […]

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Fair Food Program front and center at international Women’s Forum in Milan!

“Providing a model and inspiration to workers’ and human rights organizations around the world…”Last week, in Milan, Italy, human rights leaders, CEOs and cultural icons gathered for the annual Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, coinciding with the 2015 Expo Milano.  Some 500 participants from across the globe came together to discuss issues relating to food systems, nutrition, and gender under the umbrella of the forum’s theme, “Nurturing a Sustainable Future.”Among the key speakers for the weeklong event was the Fair Food Program’s own Judge Laura Safer Espinoza, Director of the Fair Food Standards Council, who presented along with small farmers and supply chain sustainability experts on the topic of women’s […]

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New York Times hails efforts by Vermont dairy workers, CIW, Worker-driven Social Responsibility model!

“Success” of “innovative movements” by workers from Vermont to Florida earns spread in U.S.’s most-read newspaper…Just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, the movement for Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) rocketed into the national spotlight thanks to a great new article on the front page of last Friday’s New York Times business section!  The feature-length piece from longtime labor columnist Steven Greenhouse, entitled “Farm Labor Groups Make Progress on Wages and Working Conditions,” highlighted the efforts of Vermont dairy workers to win, in the words of farmworker Arnulfo Ramirez, the right to be “treated with basic respect,” through their nascent Milk with Dignity Program and potential partnership with ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s. The article also updates […]

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U.S. Mayors endorse Fair Food Program, call on more buyers to join!

275+ Mayors pass unanimous resolution: “Recognizing the Accomplishments of the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers and Calling for Awareness and Action to Address Issues Within the U.S. Farm Labor System”…Between reports from an action-filled summer in the Campaign for Fair Food, we have a brief but truly exciting news flash from one of the Fair Food Program’s newest group of supporters: Mayors of U.S. cities from coast to coast!Last weekend in San Francisco, more than 275 mayors from across the United States held their annual conference to discuss the most pressing issues of today, tackling everything from encouraging classroom technology to invigorating small businesses and revitalizing […]

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Kroger executives reject Fair Food Program (again), offer yet more empty answers at annual shareholder meeting…

Kroger CEO: “We expect all our suppliers… to follow our strict code of conduct…”Farmworkers and their consumer allies have attended countless shareholder meetings over the years, from the very first shareholder actions back in the Taco Bell Boycott days, to the Wendy’s annual meeting earlier this month in Dublin, Ohio.  But no company has received more visits to its shareholder meetings from the Fair Food Nation than Kroger, the nation’s second biggest grocery chain behind only Walmart.  Counting last week’s action in Cincinnati, Ohio, Fair Food activists have attended six straight Kroger annual meetings, during which time the company has remained stubbornly resistant to […]

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NEW VIDEO: What is Worker-driven Social Responsibility?

Business and Human Rights Resource Center releases great new video;CIW’s Reyes: Corporate social responsibility codes “sound very beautiful in writing, but in reality they lack enforcement”…Over the past several years, the concept of Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) has caught the attention of those who work at the intersection of business and human rights, thanks in large part to the model’s remarkable success in the fight against longstanding abuses in the Florida tomato industry through the Fair Food Program.  From former President Clinton to dairy workers in rural Vermont, human rights observers have recognized the WSR model as one of the few beacons […]

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CIW, Fair Food allies to rally outside Kroger annual shareholder meeting Thursday in Cincinnati!

  Rally to call on country’s second largest food retailer to join the country’s most respected social responsibility program for the protection of farm labor rights in its supply chain;Also: CIW education team in South Carolina pays respects at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston…On Thursday, June 24th, in Cincinnati, Ohio, local clergy, students, and residents with the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center and Ohio Fair Food will join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) for a demonstration outside the 2015 Kroger’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders.  Together, they will call on the supermarket giant to join its competitors Walmart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market […]

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BREAKING: Ben & Jerry’s commits to work with Vermont dairy workers toward agreement to adopt Milk with Dignity Program in company’s Northeast dairy supply chain!

Ben & Jerry’s commits to serious talks with Migrant Justice, key elements of Milk with Dignity Program…Chances look good that, soon, you will be able to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that is not only delicious, but fair, too! Over the last month, as the much-anticipated Milk with Dignity Day of Action approached, consumers in city after city announced that they would stand in solidarity with Vermont dairy workers on June 20th and demand true worker-driven social responsibility in Ben & Jerry’s dairy supply chain.  And now it is clear that Ben & Jerry’s was listening.  Just a few days ahead of last Saturday’s actions, the ice cream giant reached […]

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Landslide! Florida United Methodists take a stand on Fair Food, Publix in historic vote!

After years of organizing, Florida United Methodists overwhelmingly pass statewide resolution calling on Publix to join Fair Food Program…This past weekend, the six-year Publix campaign reached a critical crossroads when the Florida United Methodist Church (UMC) held its Annual Conference in Daytona Beach to convene, worship, and address church business.  One of the key issues on the table for the delegates — who collectively represent more than 700 churches across the state of Florida — was a resolution calling on Publix to join the Fair Food Program.  Despite numerous attempts over the past several decades, the Florida UMC had never passed a resolution in support of […]

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Are you ready? VT workers’ Milk with Dignity National Day of Action around the corner…

Dairy workers, allies gearing up for June 20th Day of Action;Meanwhile, CIW and Worker-driven Social Responsibility take center stage at CGI America in Denver!Even as the season winds down in Immokalee, the ever-expanding Fair Food movement is gearing up for an action-filled summer!  Last week, we shared an exciting report from the Fair Food Program education team as CIW members headed north for the Program’s first-ever “Know Your Rights” trainings on tomato farms outside of Florida.  This week we have more news from the Fair Food front, as the model at the heart of the FFP, Worker-driven Social Responsibility, makes its own waves across the country.First up:  Make sure to circle next […]

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“We want these changes to exist not only for Florida farmworkers, but for all farmworkers…”

Fair Food Program Education team hits the road, leads the way as the FFP begins its expansion north out of Florida! This week, the Fair Food Program passed a truly extraordinary milestone, and it was marked, quite literally, with a road sign that read, “Welcome to Georgia!” The photo at the top of this post, taken in the early hours of the morning in a field near Bainbridge, Georgia, depicts the CIW education team conducting one of the Fair Food Program’s trademark worker-to-worker education sessions.  These trainings are the very heart of the Program, designed to equip workers with a thorough understanding of […]

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“Is Wendy’s ready to continue alienating young people and consumers rather than join a proven solution to farmworker poverty and abuse?” Ohio Fair Food takes its message straight to Wendy’s shareholders at annual meeting!

“We want to know that the food we consume does not come at the cost of another person’s dignity…” After weeks of preparation and building excitement, scores of allies from the Ohio Fair Food organizing network made good on their promise to stand alongside Florida’s farmworkers this past Monday at Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, Ohio.  They gathered there in solidarity with the CIW’s call for Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program, and we have a first-hand photo report of all the action to share with you today — from outside the meeting and inside, as well, where the CIW and student allies […]

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NEW VIDEO! VT dairy workers launch official Milk with Dignity video…

“We are organizing ourselves to shift power, and to ensure that farmers and farmworkers have a voice in the industry…” A battle for fundamental human rights is brewing in Vermont’s dairy industry, and at the heart of it all lies this pivotal question: Who should speak for farmworkers when it comes to defining the conditions in which they work and live?   In one corner: Migrant Justice, a farmworker organization that has been hard at work for years in the dairy worker community of Vermont, building a broad base of members and drafting a sophisticated platform for change — a plan […]

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