A penny for your thoughts

Adam Doster

Eric Schlosser takes to the New York Times to lay out the nasty struggles going down in Florida's tomato fields. After years of successfully fighting America's largest fast food chains to achieve some level of workplace safety and wage stability (a penny raise for each 32-pound bucket of fruit picked), immigrant farmworkers -- led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers -- and their allies are running into the buzzsaw that is the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange and the private equity-backed Burger King. This month the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, representing 90 percent of the state’s growers, announced that it will not allow any of its members to collect the extra penny for farm workers. Reggie Brown, the executive vice president of the group, described the surcharge for poor migrants as “pretty much near un-American.” According to Burger King, they have no control over the business decisions of the growers they employ. Of course, E. coli threats give the company every reason to micro-manage livestock and meatpacking suppliers. For more, read my piece about CIW's Mickey D's campaign last spring and Misha's essay on CIW's innovative organizing model.

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Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.
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