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Journalist Bernice Yeung in Slate Magazine on the Fair Food Program: “…a #MeToo-era marvel that other industries are rapidly trying to adopt, a novel approach that not only creates real consequences for harassment but also prevents it from happening at all.”

On the one-year anniversary of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Slate Magazine dedicated a feature-length article to the question: “Has [the #MeToo movement] actually led to any significant changes in workplace policies and culture”?  Drawing on the expertise of investigative journalist Bernice Yeung  (author of the recently released book,  “In a Day’s Work”), Slate published “What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers,” exploring the ways in which “many low-wage workers were taking novel approaches to ending workplace sexual harassment and violence long before #MeToo.”

The article is based on an excerpt from Yeung’s groundbreaking book, updated for Slate, that explains how two groups of workers — farmworkers with CIW and janitors with SEIU-USWW — have changed their own industries from the inside out, and why other industries should pay attention.  We have included just a few of the article’s highlights below, but it is absolutely worth a full read.  You can find the article in full here.

What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers

Long before #MeToo, tomato pickers in Florida were rethinking how to end sexual assault in their industry—and seeing results.

… Here’s how it works: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers persuades growers to sign on to the program, which means they must abide by a strict code of conduct that includes better pay and zero tolerance for sexual harassment. In exchange, these growers are given an opportunity to sell to retailers such as Whole Foods or Taco Bell, which have also promised to only buy tomatoes from Fair Food farms. The program, which began in Florida, has expanded to operations in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey, as well as pepper and strawberry crops in Florida. Dairy workers in Vermont have also launched the Milk With Dignity Program based on the Fair Food model.

Built-in accountability for meeting Fair Food standards helps drive its success. Workers, who are regularly provided on-the-clock training related to their rights, can surface complaints through various avenues, such as a confidential complaint line and education sessions. With workers functioning as the eyes and ears of the program, the model has addressed everything from wage problems to sexual assault in the fields...

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