Friday, February 18, 2011

Trader Joe's Crushing Farmworkers Rights

A great read from Grist on how Trader Joe's keeps their prices down by crushing farmworkers rights. I'm sure it's pretty similar for their packaged foods, but I'd like to see some investigations of this:

Since 2007, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an internationally recognized workers' organization based in southwest Florida, and its allies have called on Trader Joe's to support the emerging solution to the human rights crisis in Florida's fields. Yet Trader Joe's still refuses to join the Fair Food program, and its tomato supply chain -- especially the provenance of its private-label produce -- remains shrouded in secrecy. It is increasingly clear that Trader Joe's, like other supermarket industry leaders, is attempting to shirk its responsibility to pay into the system, short workers of its portion of the pay increase, and refuse to tie its purchases to the Fair Food principles. Florida's tomato industry is responsible for nearly all fresh tomatoes grown in the U.S. between November and June.

There's long been a disconnect between the theoretically liberal consumers at gourmet food stores and the treatment of the people creating that food. It'd be nice to see consumers put pressure on Trader Joe's about this. We'll see.