Two wonderful bits of news from the ever-expanding battle for Fair Food…
First up, Facebook brings us this remarkable — and remarkably heartwarming — news from the world of music:
For anyone unfamiliar with the Beautiful Bodies’ career and music, such a powerful, selfless statement in support of human rights might seem surprising. But Beautiful Bodies is not your typical rock band. From the band’s website:
When guitarist Thomas Becker approached singer Alicia Solombrino about playing music together, one small thing stood in their way: 4,500 miles to be specific. Becker, a Harvard-educated lawyer, was living in Bolivia, where he was suing the former president for human rights violations, and Solombrino was in Kansas City, making music with bassist Luis Arana… read more
If you haven’t heard of Beautiful Bodies yet, head over to their website or Facebook page and check them out, you’ll be glad you did! Their hit “Invincible” might just become the new Fair Food movement anthem…
While Beautiful Bodies may have just burst on the scene in the past few years, they were joined this week in their support for the Fair Food Program by a 50-year veteran of the fight for social justice in this country, none other than Bill Moyers. His website, billmoyers.com, is collaborating with the online network TalkPoverty.com over the next two weeks in a project they are calling, “12 Days, 12 Things You Can Do to Fight Poverty.” The project is designed to help their joint readership over the next two weeks “discover a new action you can take to help turn the tide in the fight against poverty,” one new action per day for two weeks. They dedicated one of the days to the fight for Fair Food:
A Florida strawberry harvester recently called the office of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. She described the strawberry farm where she had worked:
… in that company, you were never allowed to rest, there was no water, and the bathrooms were very far away. Every day, the supervisors and crew leaders would yell at workers, and fired many people on the spot for complaining.
The worker was calling not to report abuse, however, but rather to comment on her new job as a tomato picker in the Fair Food Program. At the tomato farm, she said,
it is beautiful… There is water, we have bathrooms and shade, and the best part is that they pay a bonus to workers every week. Anywhere from $50 or $60 or $70 a week.
She added, “It is a very good company. What a difference.”
The CIW’s Fair Food Program and Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) model have transformed Florida’s $650 million tomato industry. The program is the gold standard for human rights in the fields today, including: worker-to-worker education on rights, a 24-hour complaint line and an effective complaint investigation and resolution process — all backed by market consequences for employers who refuse to respect their workers’ rights.
Now in its fourth season, the Fair Food Program is poised to expand, and bring respect and dignity for workers to new crops and new states. As underscored by the phone call from the former strawberry worker — that expansion can’t come soon enough.
We cannot extend human rights beyond Florida tomatoes, however, without more support from corporate buyers. In spite of the Fair Food Program’s incredible success, several major companies — including Wendy’s, Kroger, and Publix — staunchly refuse to join the Program and support human rights for the workers in their supply chains.
So go ahead and call on Wendy’s, Publix, and Kroger to join the FFP yourself, then head on over to billmoyers.com and check out the rest of the 12 actions you can take to help end poverty today!