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PLUS: United Nations Business Group on Human Rights highlights Fair Food Program as “best practice” globally in fight to end human rights abuse worldwide…

In 1993, United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was established “to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.” The Universal Declaration emerged from the rubble of World War II, in which rogue states and violent political ideologies represented the greatest threat to human rights around the world.

But by the time the OHCHR was founded nearly fifty years later, much had changed in the field of human rights, including the emergence of massive private corporations with economic power far greater than that of many states, and with the responsibility born of that power to protect the human rights of workers toiling in their vast, global supply chains. Sadly, however, the indisputable increase in the incidence of human rights violations at the bottom of corporate supply chains over the past several decades – violations ranging from modern-day slavery to sexual violence and unconscionable poverty – has made a mockery of the vast majority of corporate-led social responsibility purporting to protect workers’ fundamental rights. 

In light of this undeniable epidemic of exploitation, the United Nation’s Working Group on Business and Human Rights – the branch of the OHCHR that is specifically charged with looking after the rights of workers in corporate supply chains – has stepped up its efforts to identify and promote proven solutions. Declaring, “people around the world who have suffered adverse human rights impacts as a result of business activity continue to face many serious barriers to remedy and justice,” the Working Group recently launched a process aimed at strengthening access to remedy for workers and communities around the globe.

As part of that process, forty international human rights experts gathered just over a week ago at the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The goal of the gathering was to identify the best practices for protecting human rights in corporate supply chains from around the world, and the Fair Food Program was at the table. 

Since its very first visit to Immokalee in 2013, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights has identified the Fair Food Program as a uniquely successful remedy to human rights abuse, a rare example of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in action. And since that first visit, Fair Food Program representatives have been invited to address the United Nations at multiple annual forums, and have participated in consultations on forced labor and gender-based violence.

At this most recent gathering in Geneva, Judge Laura Safer Espinoza, the Executive Director of the Fair Food Standards Council, shared many of the invaluable lessons learned since 2011 through the implementation and operation of the Fair Food Program’s worker-driven model of social responsibility...

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Presbyterian Church (USA) becomes first mainline denomination to endorse the principles of Worker-driven Social Responsibility!

October 4, 2018

“Historic vote” by Presbyterian Mission Agency Board is the latest chapter in long history of PC(USA) support for CIW, Fair Food Movement… Huge news from the faith-based organizing front of the movement for Fair Food: The 1.4 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) became the first mainline denomination to endorse the principles of Worker-driven Social Responsibility at its Mission Agency board meeting on Saturday, September 29th! Shannan Vance-Ocampo, who serves on the Mission Agency board, spoke with the Presbyterian journal, The Presbyterian Outlook, on the significance of the vote.  Here below is a short excerpt from that article, titled “From social responsibility principles to […]

Scores of students, youth gather in Immokalee for #2018Encuentro, launch plans for nationwide Wendy’s Boycott actions!

October 1, 2018

Students escalate campaigns to boot Wendy’s off college campuses from Michigan to Philadelphia; put finishing touches on upcoming “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, Oct. 22-28… PLUS:  Over 150 farmworkers and allies flood sidewalk on U.S. 41 in Estero, FL, for dazzling Wendy’s Boycott protest… Ushering in the beginning of the fall season, Immokalee hosted over 80 students and youth last week for this year’s Student/Farmworker Alliance Encuentro.  Traveling from over 35 communities across the country, and even from as far as Mexico City, Encuentro participants gathered in Immokalee, the birthplace of the CIW and the heart […]

“A #MeToo-era marvel”: Slate Magazine features Fair Food Program in “What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers”…

September 25, 2018

Journalist Bernice Yeung in Slate Magazine on the Fair Food Program: “…a #MeToo-era marvel that other industries are rapidly trying to adopt, a novel approach that not only creates real consequences for harassment but also prevents it from happening at all.” On the one-year anniversary of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Slate Magazine dedicated a feature-length article to the question: “Has [the #MeToo movement] actually led to any significant changes in workplace policies and culture”?  Drawing on the expertise of investigative journalist Bernice Yeung  (author of the recently released book, “In a Day’s Work”, Slate published “What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers,” exploring the ways in […]

Fair Food Program featured in Congressional Women’s Caucus Hearing on Workplace Sexual Harassment…

September 20, 2018

Judge Laura Safer Espinoza, Executive Director of the Fair Food Standards Council, joins panel of speakers at bipartisan hearing seeking solutions to sexual violence and harassment at work… Last Wednesday, September 12th, the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues held a high profile hearing on the problem sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.  Hosted by Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Lois Frankel (D-FL), the hearing was the third in a series on sexual harassment.  Here is an excerpt from the Women’s Caucus’ press release announcing the hearing: News Release WASHINGTON, DC – As the one-year anniversary of the Harvey Weinstein […]

Celebrating Patrick Kaufman: father, teacher, leader in the Fair Food Nation…

September 18, 2018

Patrick Kaufman, left foreground, with his son, Jeremiah, bottom right, are pictured with fellow fasters during the CIW’s Return to Human Rights Tour in March of 2017.  They joined 17 other members of the Columbus, Ohio, community and students from the University of Ohio in support of the Wendy’s Boycott with a week-long fast.  Patrick passed away a few days ago of Stage IV Melanoma, leaving behind his wife and three children. Today, with incredibly heavy hearts, we mark the passing of Patrick Kaufman, a passionate, unwavering voice for justice and leader of the Fair Food Nation in Columbus, Ohio.  […]

The New York Times highlights Model Alliance’s RESPECT Program!

September 10, 2018

NYT: Model Alliance’s RESPECT Program offers “set of comprehensive industry standards developed by models to govern behaviors, rights, payment and recourse, as well as a detailed list of consequences and processes…” Model Alliance latest to deploy WSR model in fight for rights and dignity in the workplace; RESPECT Program developed in conjunction with CIW, Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network… As the #MeToo movement continues to make waves across the country, the Model Alliance is leading the fight to give fashion models a real voice at work.  Aiming “to promote fair treatment, equal opportunity, and more sustainable practices in the fashion industry, from […]

EEOC case alleges rape in Florida’s strawberry fields, reminding us of an ongoing reality on farms beyond the protections of the Fair Food Program…

August 20, 2018

“No employee should be subjected to sexually degrading conduct as a condition of employment,” Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami district office, said in a statement. “Migrant farmworkers are no exception.” Longtime Fair Food activists may be familiar with a thought experiment that CIW members often share in public presentations that is designed to put you, the consumer, at the edge of the field where the food you buy is harvested.  The mental exercise – set in a classic roadside farm stand, like the one pictured below, brimming with freshly picked, local fruits and vegetables – is […]

Compass Group USA announces first generation of Fair Food Chefs on new website!

August 15, 2018

Russell Szekely (above), VP of Canteen Culinary – a part of Compass Groups USA – shares his reflections on the Fair Food Program after a visit to Immokalee. Fair Food Chef Paul Ruszat with Morrison Healthcare (of Compass Group USA): “If the sustainability doesn’t start with the people that are growing and picking our food then the rest doesn’t matter.” Today, we bring you news of a brand-new campaign by one of the Fair Food Program’s participating buyers, Compass Group USA!  Compass serves 9.8 million meals every day at its countless different venues, from school lunchrooms to corporate cafes, and […]

New popular education drawings make their debut at worker-to-worker education sessions on Fair Food farms along the East Coast!

August 7, 2018

Hundreds of workers educated in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey on rights under the Fair Food Program… Today, we bring you an update from the front lines of the Fair Food movement: A report from worker-to-worker education sessions in Virginia and Maryland where, just last week, the CIW Education Team debuted two brand-new drawings, one on the right to a safe work environment, and the other on the right to report abuse without fear of retaliation.  As a quick refresher, in 2015, the Fair Food Program headed north out of Florida and expanded to six East Coast states: Georgia, South […]

Fair Food Program singled out, once again, by international human rights leaders for its unique success in the fight against slavery, sexual violence…

August 3, 2018

Kevin Hyland OBE, the United Kingdom’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner: “This model, called ‘Worker-Driven Social Responsibility’, is rightly gaining much attention from many sectors.” The Fair Food Program continues to accumulate accolades for its unparalleled success in protecting workers’ human rights in corporate supply chains.  In recent weeks, two leading international voices on business and human rights made their admiration for the Fair Food Program known in articles dedicated to spotlighting programs “showing great promise” in fighting sexual violence and modern-day slavery. Shift, the New York-based NGO “founded as a non-profit organization just days after the endorsement of the Guiding […]