CIW Wins Major Victory for Social Responsibility in Florida Tomato Fields

NFWM congratulates the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) for the landmark agreements they won this month for farm workers in the Florida tomato fields. CIW announced the first formal agreement with a tomato grower, Pacific Tomato Growers, on Oct. 14; and announced a similar agreement a week later with Florida’s largest tomato grower, Six L’s.
lucas & pacific.jpg
NFWM staff, board and supporters around the country, and especially NFWM-Florida and NFWM-YAYA, have been actively working with the CIW on its Fair Food Campaign since the campaign began.

From the CIW/Pacific press release:
“Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the country’s oldest and largest tomato producers, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Florida-based farm worker organization spearheading the Campaign for Fair Food, have signed an innovative agreement that sets new standards for social responsibility and accountability in Florida’s tomato industry.

The agreement represents a significant step forward in the CIW’s decade-long campaign for labor reforms in Florida’s tomato industry. Not only is it the first formal agreement between the CIW and a major tomato grower, but the new accord establishes several practical systems designed to implement cooperatively the key principles of the Code of Conduct at the heart of the Campaign for Fair Food. Those principles include a joint — and, when need be, external — complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program, and a worker-to-worker education process aimed at insuring that farm workers themselves are active participants in the social responsibility efforts.”

For the entire press release, click HERE.

For more on the victories, click HERE.

Photo: Lucas Benitez, left, of the CIW shakes hands with Jon Esformes of Pacific Tomato Growers following yesterday’s press conference at Pacific’s Immokalee farm. Rev. Russell Meyer, Executive Director of Florida Council of Churches, looks on. Photo by Andrew West, Ft. Myers News-Press.

Evergreen YAYAs sponsor Mason County Literacy ESL Tutor Training

ESL Training1_0.JPGOn October 15th and 16th over 20 Evergreen YAYAs, students, and community members attended a ten hour volunteer training to learn how to tutor adult immigrant learners in English. Friday night was spent learning about the work of Mason County Literacy, a non-profit, largely volunteer run organization that has been in operation for nearly 20 years. MCL and Thurston County Bookends utilize about 150 volunteers to provide free instruction to adults wishing to earn a GED, learn English as a second language, or improve their math and literacy skills. Participants read oral histories prepared by ESL students and talked about the different challenges and strengths that can shape the immigrant experience. We also discussed the different reasons that people emigrate from their home countries and the unique place that many immigrants find themselves in when they come to the United States seeking refuge from persecution and can never return home. A shared experience we found in the oral histories was the sense of loneliness and isolation; finding ordinary acts such as a trip to the grocery store completely intimidating because you cannot communicate with others.

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