CIW looks ahead to meeting with Governor Crist…

CIW looks ahead to meeting with Governor Crist…

Photo report from Tallahassee theater, press conference online now!

As reported in this morning’s Ft. Myers News-Press, “Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced Wednesday he will talk with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers – a meeting the group has sought for two years.”

Here’s an extended excerpt from the article, entitled “Immokalee workers to take slavery tales to Crist”:

“On the table: slavery and the labor conditions of Southwest Florida’s tomato harvesters…

Slavery, coalition members say, is the extreme end of a broken labor system that begins with subpoverty wages. The group has pledges from the world’s largest fast-food companies – McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and others – to pay harvesters a penny more per pound for the tomatoes they pick.

The extra money would make a huge difference in workers’ lives, 31-year-old picker Rafael Gomez told The News-Press last week. He hadn’t found work for eight days. ‘If I’d made a few more dollars, I’d have been able to have some defense against hunger,’ Gomez said.” read more

Thanks go out to all those who emailed, faxed, and joined us in Tallahassee and so helped make this meeting possible!

Tallahassee photo report: The opportunity to share their views on farm labor conditions with Governor Crist has CIW members excited and planning eagerly for the upcoming meeting. To have secured the chance to meet with the governor is a step forward in and of itself, but the true extent of progress will measured by what happens after the meeting. In the words of the photo report from the visit to Tallahassee:

“With the March 25th meeting, a civil rights landmark will have been met — farmworkers will, for the first time, have won the right to sit at the same table as the governor. And that is because workers from Immokalee have fought so hard and so long for their human rights that their humanity can no longer be denied or ignored.

The labor rights landmark, however, still lies ahead. Our arrival there depends upon the outcome of the meeting and the commitments made there. We are optimistic, however, that Governor Crist’s break with tradition on the decision to grant our meeting is a harbinger of more change to come. Lord knows it’s long overdue.” read more