pickingCheck out the latest article on the growing battle for fair food, this time from the St. Petersburg Times, “Fast Food Fight,” 3/5/06 (photo on left). Here’s an excerpt:

“Wednesday night, more than 70 farm workers packed the CIW’s storefront for a regular weekly meeting… As heads covered with ball caps nodded, Benitez said the CIW is pushing for fair food, not just fast food. It wants to make sure workers have a place at the table with growers and buyers to ensure real reform. And it intends to travel to Chicago at the end of the month to place its demands on McDonald’s doorstep.

At the end of the nearly two-hour meeting, Benitez closed by shouting out the CIW’s rallying cry, “”Coalicion!”

In response, the workers, most of whom had been working since long before daybreak, made their voices heard. “”Presente!” they yelled. We are here.” READ MORE

Plus… check out these four stories below:

“State starts investigation into farm company’s records,” Naples Daily News 2/28/06: “An Immokalee farmworker’s claims that a supervisor punched and threatened him after he refused to work because he was shorted hours has prompted the state to launch a probe into the company’s records…” Read more! “Groups push state to fight human trafficking,” Naples Daily News 2/26/06: “If state legislation were to include language … allowing for prosecutions of those up the chain who profit from modern slavery, it would create incentives for more and more powerful actors in the food supply chain to guard against the occurrence of slavery and therefore go a long way toward eliminating slavery in agriculture…” — Laura Germino, CIW anti-slavery campaign coordinator — Read more!
“Fair Trade or Fool’s Gold,” Palm Beach Post Op-Ed, 2/22/06, Todd Howland, Director RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights: “Social responsibility can’t be achieved on the cheap. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of setting higher labor standards and certifying the growers who rise to those standards. But at a minimum, that means dealing with the urgent need for a wage increase for Florida’s farmworkers — an increase to be paid by the buyers and passed on to the workers, as is the case in the CIW’s agreement with Taco Bell — and working with the CIW to design truly humane workplace standards. Credibility can be born only of a genuine partnership among buyers, growers and labor.” Read more! “Penny wise and pound foolish?,” Presbyterian News Service, 2/22/06: “I knew this campaign was going on, and just felt it was my responsibility to add to it and bring the letter in myself,” said Presbyterian Janel Geary, who earlier this month had a special delivery for the manager of a McDonald’s in Chicago Heights, IL…

“I think it has more impact if it’s their returning customers that are pushing this,” Geary said. “It’s something that has become very prominent, that this is an issue, with the farmworkers not having proper wages for what they do.” Read more!