Coalition of Immokalee Workers

For Verite, Robin Jaffin,
413 253 9227

For CIW, Greg Asbed


The and Verité
Announce Partnership for Implementation, Monitoring
of Historic Fair Food Program


Amherst, Mass. (November 30, 2009) – The (CIW), a Florida-based farmworker organization, and Verité, a non-governmental organization that promotes and monitors fair labor practices across the globe, announced today their partnership in the implementation of a program to significantly improve wages and working conditions in the Florida tomato industry.  The program comes as a result of the CIW’s landmark “Fair Food” agreements with food industry leaders Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods, Compass, and Bon Appétit.  The agreements require those companies to demand more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers, to pay a premium price for more fairly produced tomatoes, and to shift their purchases to growers who meet those higher standards.

East Coast Growers and Packers, along with specialty growers Alderman Farms and Lady Moon Farms, have shown their early support for this effort by agreeing to pass along the pay premium to their tomato harvesters.  Verité will oversee and conduct onsite verification of payment assessments in all participating buyer and grower operations through a standard accounting validation and verification process especially designed for this program.  The accounting verification will be supplemented with harvester interviews to confirm receipt of payments at the worker level.

“These developments are truly unprecedented.  Through the Campaign for Fair Food, we are moving, step by step, toward a more modern, more humane tomato industry in Florida.  And together with Verite, we are working this season to develop and test the standards and procedures that will ensure that those changes are real and measurable,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW.  “Change of this magnitude is never easy, but we — the CIW, the participating growers, and our retail food partners — are determined, as the saying goes, ‘to make the road by walking’ and it is good to have someone with us like Verite, who has been down this road before.”

“We are honored to be able to put into place a program that ensures that the farmworkers who harvest tomatoes in the fields of Florida, will benefit from this increase, upholding the commitments that buyers and growers of major food companies have made,” said Dan Viederman, Executive Director of Verite.

About the :
The CIW is a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, Florida, with over 4,000 members.  The CIW seeks modern working conditions for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international labor standards.  Among its accomplishments, the CIW has aided in the prosecution by the Department of Justice of six slavery operations and the liberation of well over 1,000 workers.  The CIW uses creative methods to educate consumers about human rights abuses in the U.S. agriculture industry, the need for corporate social responsibility, and how consumers can help workers realize their social change goals.  The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food has won unprecedented support for fundamental farm labor reforms from retail food industry leaders, with the goal of enlisting the market power of those companies to demand more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers.  For more information, visit

About Verite
Verité’s mission is to ensure people worldwide work under safe, fair, and legal conditions.  The NGO’s international experts and global partnership network are operating in over 65 countries, humanizing the global workplace and changing lives. Verité’s programs and services empower companies, factories, NGOs, governments, and workers to create sustainable labor practices in the factories and communities where consumer goods are manufactured. For more information, visit