FIU students take matters into their own hands

FIU students take matters into their own hands, send Publix personal appeals to join Fair Food Program…

It’s always an eye-opening experience when people learn about the history of exploitation and abuse in Florida’s fields, about the unbroken decades of degradation faced by generations of Florida farmworkers.

It’s even more of an eye-opener when they learn that there is finally a real solution to those decades of poverty and abuse, yet, despite this new hope for long overdue farm labor justice, their favorite supermarket chain, Florida’s own Publix, refuses to do its part to change history.

It’s a reaction that we have seen too many times to count over the past several years. But this week, students at Florida International University in Miami put a personal twist on their indignation following a visit to campus by the CIW, and we thought you might enjoy seeing a sample of the results. Student after student picked up a dry erase board that happened to be in the area and had their pictures taken with hand-written messages for Publix. In doing so, they joined growing numbers of Publix customers who have lost patience with the company over its inexplicable refusal to participate in the CIW’s Fair Food Program.

The Fair Food Program, entering its third season in operation this November, combines a code of conduct (forged over several years in a unique collaboration among workers, buyers, growers, and consumers) with an oversight program that monitors and enforces the code through worker-to-worker education, a protected complaint investigation and resolution process, regular farm office and field audits, and market consequences for failure to comply the most comprehensive, verifiable, and sustainable program for social responsibility in US agriculture today.

So, without further ado, we present to you the thoughts, hopes, and demands of FIU students as expressed in notes to Publix: