201 W. Park Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Michele M. Taylor
Associate Director for Communications, (850) 205-6817, mtaylor@flacathconf.org

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mary Ross Agosta
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Miami
(305) 762-1043

Archbishop Thomas Wenski Praises Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Pacific Tomato Growers for Agreement on Increased Wages and Protection for Tomato Workers

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, President of the Florida Catholic Conference and Archbishop of Miami, today expressed his wholehearted congratulations to the leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), for their perseverance and dedication, as well as to the leadership of the Pacific Tomato Growers (PTG), one of the country’s oldest and largest tomato producers, who together have forged an agreement to work toward increased accountability and better conditions for workers in Florida’s tomato industry.

“On behalf of my brother bishops in Florida, especially Bishop Dewane of the Diocese of Venice who has worked closely with farmworkers and growers encouraging dialogue to reach solutions, we congratulate the CIW and PTG for this agreement,” said Archbishop Wenski. “We are especially heartened that the payment of the additional ‘penny per pound’ price premium to raise farmworkers wages is a part of the agreement,” he said. “Moreover, the owners of PTG show true enlightenment in calling for other agricultural companies to join in the effort and in declaring farmworkers must have the same protections as workers in all walks of life.”

“Most agricultural employers are people of good will,” said Wenski. “But what is significant here is that we have leaders in the industry agreeing to set high standards for protection of workers. We applaud the courage and commitment of all of the leaders in these two groups who forged this agreement, which we hope and pray will lead to sustained change and new social responsibility for the industry.”

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The Florida Catholic Conference is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.