Last week, tomato pickers in Florida saw a victory when Wal-Mart agreed to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes.
What Is A Penny Worth?
A penny more per pound may not sound like much, but it’s the difference between $50 and $90 a day per worker, for around 30,000 tomato pickers.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) signed on to the Fair Food Program in 2010, a partnership among tomato pickers, farmers and the businesses who buy from them.
The Fair Food Program also contains a code of conduct that ensures safety compliance and fair labor practices, and protects against sexual harassment.
Growers who don’t adhere to the rules will not be allowed to do business with the companies who participate in the program.
Is Change Coming?
Wal-Mart is the most visible of the chains that have signed on to the Fair Food Program, which includes Chipotle, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Yum Brands.
This step to protect tomato workers could have a ripple effect across the industry. Netting $466 billion in revenue last year, the multinational retail corporation has the ability to influence other businesses through its decision-making. This is called the “Wal-Mart effect.”
Wal-Mart says it plans to expand the Fair Food Program to include other vegetable growers.