Trader Joe’s, a national grocery chain with more than 350 outlets in nine states, has become the second major food retailer to sign on to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Agreement.
For a more than a decade, the CIW, a grassroots farmworkers’ rights organization, has tried to persuade supermarket chains, fast food outlets, and other major produce buyers to sign Fair Food Agreements. The agreements give workers a raise from $50 to $80 a day and assure them basic rights that virtually every other employee in the United States enjoys, including accurate time keeping, clearly defined grievance procedures, safety education, and protection from violence and sexual harassment in the fields.
Fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King and institutional food-service companies like Sodexo came aboard. The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, a cooperative representing all major growers in the state agreed to join the Fair Food effort. But with the exception of Whole Foods Market, not a single grocery retailer cooperated, until now.