Saturday, November 12, 2011

Publix stores protest for farmworkers - tomorrow in Sarasota FL ~ @CIW

Publix protest set for Sunday in Sarasota!

Plus... Check out this must-read Op/Ed
published in today's Sarasota Herald Tribune:
"Local Christian Leaders Support Farmworkers"
If you live in the Southwest Florida area (that means you, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Venice... and you, too, Lakeland, Wimauma, Arcadia, Palmetto!...) and support the Fair Food Movement, you need to be in Sarasota tomorrow afternoon for the big Publix protest.
From our allies at Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida:
Dear Friends,

A fantastic guest editorial today in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune by a sizable group of Sarasota clergy -- titled "Local Christian Leaders Support Farmworkers" -- invites readers to tomorrow's regional picket at the high-profile Publix that opened this week just south of downtown.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, a number of faith leaders gathered alongside the festivities to pray for Publix leadership as well as to praise the commitment of the fast-food restaurants that sandwich the new Publix store -- Taco Bell and McDonald's -- for improving the pay and work conditions of tomato pickers. You can see a report on the faith-based witness here from SNN6; the coverage begins around 1:31.

Publix's reasons for rejecting the Fair Food agreements in that TV report are typical of what we have heard for the last many months: misleading statements that confuse the public about what the CIW is seeking. Publix insists they "will not pay farmworkers directly" and they "will not get involved in a labor dispute." Of course, the CIW is not asking Publix to pay farmworkers directly, but to pay a premium that is distributed by growers to workers; additionally, the notion of a labor dispute is absolutely backward: 90% of the state's farms are now working in partnership with the CIW and major retailers. Publix simply refuses to take part.

For that reason, the Sarasota priests and pastors write in today's stellar op/ed:

"... As people of faith, we are charged by Paul of Tarsus to 'speak the truth in love.' The truth is Publix's response to CIW's appeal has, at times, been deceitful and shameful. Last winter in response to a protest in Daphne, Ala., a Publix spokesperson stated, 'If there are some atrocities going on, it's not our business.' Is that not eerily similar to what the priest and the Levite say about the man beaten on the side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan?

Publix spokespersons also parrot the suggestion that growers should 'put the penny in the price.' Oddly, this is precisely what Florida tomato growers do for Whole Foods and the eight other leading tomato retailers working together with the CIW. Sadly, deceptive public relations spin may help to clean up the company's reputation in the marketplace, but it does nothing to clean up human rights abuses in its tomato supply chain." read more

If you can, please join CIW tomato pickers and their families along with scores of other farmworker-justice supporters for the regional picket tomorrow: Sunday, Nov. 13th at 3 PM at the new Publix on 41 at Bay Street just south of downtown Sarasota. More details here!

Jordan and Brigitte
Interfaith Action of SW Florida
239 986 9101 --
People of faith partnering with farmworkers to cultivate justice in the fields

Hope to see you tomorrow in the streets of Sarasota!
Thanks - Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Coalition of Immokalee Workers • PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 • (239) 657-8311 •

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