In a rare ethical move, Walmart has agreed to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a model for fair agricultural labor practices. The CIW after yesterday’s announcement:
Today’s agreement will bring immediate and concrete benefits to tens of thousands of farmworkers in the Florida tomato industry. Roughly 30,000 workers will benefit directly from this agreement, via the Fair Food Premium and/or through Walmart’s support for the human rights standards in the Fair Food Code of Conduct already in place at the farms where they work. For a program like the FFP, which is fueled by the market power of its retail partners, the participation of the single biggest company in the food industry today — or in the history of the planet, for that matter — will bring about the greatest impact on workers’ lives that any individual new partner could contribute to the Program.
The FFP is a BFD. The plan raises the standard for fair labor across a range of issues: it requires pay increases, a zero tolerance policy for sexual violence, a prohibition on forced labor, workers’ rights education on farms, complaint resolution mechanisms, and site-specific health and safety committees. And however skeptical we may be of any Walmart decision, their partnership will protect thousands of people immediately and provide a platform for FFP-standards in other segments of the agricultural industry.
Alexandra Brodsky is a witty one-liner.
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