Take action with change.org by telling Publix to sign a Fair Food Agreement today!
Take a moment to consider two videos. We’ll begin with the 2012 Publix Mother’s Day commercial (spoiler alert — get your tissues ready):
Whatever you may think about Florida’s supermarket giant on other accounts, Publix makes a great commercial. A moving — yet somehow not overwrought — narrative, natural acting, and an almost magical production quality come together to wrap you up in a world so inviting, so perfect yet so real at the same time, that your heart swells and tears well in your eyes as if on cue. Publix commercials hit their mark, time after time.
And now, the second video, from the Fast for Fair Food:
Two videos, two moving messages, two very different styles. The Publix commercial may be a marketing masterpiece but, ultimately, it is still just marketing: a branded, scripted, directed and acted vehicle for product placement and emotional manipulation designed to tell a story around food. The feeling of love pulled out of you by the video is intended to be associated with Publix, to bond you to the brand.
And the video from the Fast for Fair Food? Real people, not actors. Words from the heart, not aimed at the heart. No direction, just a moment caught in time that tells the story behind the food Publix sells, the real story of thousands of farmworker mothers who work in backbreaking, dangerous, and all too often humiliating conditions, every day of the week — including Mother’s Day — to provide for their families. Mothers who have marched on Publix, led pray-ins at Publix, and fasted outside Publix to call on Publix to join Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and eight other retail food giants in signing a Fair Food Agreement and helping to improve farmworkers’ lives, a call that has fallen on deaf ears.
This Mother’s Day, thanks to the fine folks at change.org, you can help farmworker mothers, and fathers, provide a better life for their families by adding your voice to that call through their online petition. Here’s the text:
|“Farmworkers have long faced brutal conditions in the tomato fields of Florida: sub-poverty wages, wage theft, physical abuse and, in the most extreme cases, modern-day slavery.
Women and mothers who work in the fields face additional burdens that compound these difficulties. Verbal abuse. Sexual abuse. The inability to spend time with one’s children because such dismal wages require constant work — even on holidays, like Mother’s Day.
Fortunately, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) — an internationally-recognized farmworker organization — has reached groundbreaking agreements with ten multi-billion dollar food retailers, including McDonald’s, Subway and Trader Joe’s, now participants of the Fair Food Program. Tens of thousands of farmworkers are benefiting from a worker-designed code of conduct in the fields and a penny-per-pound pay increase — the first real increase in thirty years.
But Florida-based Publix Supermarkets, which touts itself for its concern for families, refuses to participate.
That’s why mothers are coming together — from both ends of the supply chain. Farmworker mothers and consumer mothers, bound by their universal desire to provide for their families, are uniting their voices to invite Publix to become a part of a solution that is already well underway — a solution that allows mothers to do their job, and to do it with dignity.
“On Mother’s Day, we ask that you, Publix executives, recognize our affliction and the necessity of just wages for us as farmworkers, who as mothers are responsible for feeding our children,” said Immokalee mother Carmen Esquivel.
Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas, a Publix customer, advocates for the Fair Food Campaign. “As a mother it is important to me that the food I put on the table is planted and harvested while maintaining farmworker dignity. I cannot very well ask the Lord to bless the food and forget the farmworker.”
The CIW’s Fair Food Program guarantees long-awaited respect and protection within the workplace. Both those who harvest Publix’s produce and those who consume it deem it time for Publix to join.“
We’ll close with reflections shared with us by two mothers from the two ends of Publix’s supply chain, Lupe Gonzalo of the CIW and the Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas of Peace Presbyterian Church in Bradenton. The first are words from Lupe on the gulf between Publix executives and the farmworkers who labor to fill their stores with fruits and vegetables, the second is a story related to us by Rev. Thomas about how she and her family are taking a second look at the food they eat, and the stores where they buy it:
|“When our children ask us why we’re protesting, we tell them the truth. We say that their actions force us into poverty. But when the children of Publix executives ask why Publix is being protested, I doubt that their parents tell them the truth. They probably say, ‘Oh, they’re crazy,’ because its easier than ‘Publix creates their poverty.’ That’s what we want: for Publix executives to have a truth to tell their children that isn’t shameful.”|
|Rev. Thomas’ five year-old daughter had accompanied her older siblings and her mother to the final days of the Fast for Fair Food. So it was more than a little confusing when, just a few weeks later, the young girl’s class took her on a field trip to Publix. Coming home wearing an “I Heart Publix” pin, she asked her mom to help her make sense of the two events. As Rev. Thomas explained — how some customers do love Publix, but how that’s changing as Publix’s decisions hurt the farmworkers who pick the tomatoes Publix sells — she watched her daughter slowly, thoughtfully take off the pin.|
Please support the Campaign for Fair Food this Mother’s Day by signing the change.org online petition.