100+ from Immokalee, Food Chain Workers Alliance take to Miami’s sunny streets to deliver Mother’s Day letter to Publix!

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“We are speaking the truth, with our heads held high…”


On Sunday morning, with a remarkably cool breeze and a sunny sky, three vans full of farmworkers from Immokalee and their families headed across Alligator Alley to Miami to meet up with warehouse workers, restaurant workers, and other farmworkers from across the U.S. for an action against Publix.  Buoyed by the support of the visiting representatives from the Food Chain Workers Alliance as well as the unseasonably beautiful weather, Immokalee families headed up a short march to through the streets of Coral Gables that culminated in a high-energy picket in front of Publix:




For the fourth year in a row, farmworker mothers had come to Publix with a message.  Bearing the Mother’s Day letter prepared last week, a delegation of protesters crossed the parking lot to speak, once again, with Publix executives.  After the delegation, CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo gave a stirring report to the group:

Miami_Publix_FCWA_7719_smThank you for being here to support the Fair Food Program.  Your energy is so high!

We went to give a card that was written by the mothers of Immokalee on Mother’s Day.  What the card is asking is that Publix join the Fair Food Program.  Publix presumes to say that they support families — but in reality, we don’t see this support.

And we are not afraid to tell them that what they are saying is not true.  We are not afraid to come and protest in front of their stores.  Because we are speaking the truth, with our heads held high.  […]

[…]  For all of us, when we speak to our children, we tell them the truth.  And we tell them that Publix has not signed onto the Program because they are afraid.  Even children can see that.  But what does Publix say to its children?  Only lies?  Is that how they are educating their children?  That is not how we prepare our children for the future.

And that wasn’t the only report on Sunday’s protest. The Miami Herald, Miami’s newspaper of record, published an excellent article on the action:

Farmworkers to Publix: A penny more can change lives


About a hundred people gathered outside Publix to ask the grocery chain to participate in a program that improves conditions for farmworkers.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers protests outside a Publix in Coral Gables to encourage the grocery chain to participate in the Fair Food Program, which ensures better conditions for field workers, on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Carli Teproff/Miami Herald Staff

A penny more.

It may not sound like a lot, but to a group of about 100 people protesting outside a Coral Gables Publix on Sunday, one cent more per pound of tomatoes means shorter days, higher pay and better working conditions for the thousands of laborers who pick the crops.

“We want Publix to listen to the voices of us, as mothers, and as farmworkers,” Lupé Gonzalo said in Spanish to a group outside the Publix at 1401 Monza Ave. “Because as much as they say they support families, we don’t see it, as workers in the field.”

Members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers said Publix has not yet agreed to participate in the Fair Food Program, which began several years ago as a way to ensure better treatment for farmworkers. The concept is simple: Companies buying tomatoes agree to pay a cent more per pound, which goes to the farmworker.”  read more

And finally, because there were too many beautiful photos to be missed, here is a full gallery from the day’s events: