The Pinellas Support Committee of the National Farm Worker Ministry Invites You to Our Annual Soup Supper! Enjoy home-made lentil soup (regular & vegetarian) prepared by widely-acclaimed chef Scott. We will be collecting diapers for distribution to farm worker families during the holiday toy drive. When: Saturday, November 23 at 6:00 p.m Where: […]
Congratulations to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for its successful Southeast Publix Truth Tour! NFWM and its Youth and Young Adult Network (YAYA) stand with the CIW in their quest for justice. The two-week tour started in Gainesville, Florida, where supporters organized a week-long series of actions in support of farm workers. NFWM Executive Board […]
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) invites you to join them for their Southeast tour to pressure Publix Supermarkets to join the Fair Food program. What: CIW’s Southeast Publix Truth Tour. When and where: September 21 to October 5th, in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. For the exact schedule click here. Why (from […]
The Pinellas Support Committee invites you to join them at their Annual Sacrificial Soup Supper Saturday, November 17 at 5:30 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Clearwater, FL. Bring new socks and underwear for kids under 12 and warm blankets for folks of all ages to support the Farm Worker Christmas Project and enjoy homemade lentil […]
The National Farm Worker Ministry congratulates the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Chipotle Mexican Grill on the October 4th signing of the Fair Food Agreement! We thank our many supporters who wrote letters, visited stores, marched with the CIW and worked tirelessly to bring a message of fairness and equality on behalf of tomato farm […]
by Bert Perry, NFWM Florida Over a decade ago the Coalition of Immokalee Workers called upon the Florida office of the National Farm Worker Ministry to accompany them to a meeting with the Governor’s office in Tallahassee. We have journeyed with the CIW since that time. NFWM was a founder in Religious Leaders Concerned which […]
David Haney is a member of the St Paul Catholic Church since 1995 and a member of the Pinellas Support Committee since 2003. Maria McCourt is a NFWM Board Member and Coordinator of the Pinellas Support Committee in Florida.
A Santa Story by David Haney
Maria and I, with the help of many wonderful supporters, contributors, and volunteers, visited some twenty migrant farm worker camps in Plant City and Dover each year providing these workers with food, clothing and Christmas gifts during the long winter months when they have little work and meager pay checks. This year we provided Christmas gifts to nearly 770 children.
One of the many generous contributors during the past two years has been Country Park Trailer Park, a 55+ community located in Clearwater, Florida. Most of these volunteers live up north but fly south to Clearwater during the winter months (Snow Geese). Many of the Country Park residents collected money and graciously provided Christmas Gifts to about 14 migrant families, living at a migrant camp outside of Plant City. A dozen of these Country Park residents and I drove in a convoy to a pre-designated migrant camp, our vehicles loaded with Christmas gifts, food, clothing items, and lots of Christmas cheer. As we arrived, we all got out of our vehicles and donned our red & white Santa hats. We knocked on the door of each of the six trailers, one by one. These individual “Santa’s” provided each family with Christmas gifts for each child, an impressive amount of food, a Christmas card, and some clothing. Then the Country Park volunteers sang “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” before heading out to the next trailer, until all six trailers were visited.
While we were visiting each family in our Santa hats, singing Christmas songs, and delivering the bundles of toys, food and clothing, a small boy came running over to our group from across the street with a letter in his hand. No one knew who he was, running over by himself from a distant trailer. He wasn’t a resident of the trailer park we were visiting but it was difficult to ignore his enthusiasm. The boy, no older that seven years old, handed one of our volunteers a letter and then quickly disappeared back to his parent’s trailer, across the street. The top of the letter had a drawing of Santa Claus, where the little boy colored in Santa’s rose colored cheeks and large red hat. Underneath the Santa drawing were lines where the elementary grade teacher obviously instructed her little students to write a letter to Santa, using their best writing skills.
“Dear Santa Claus, How are you…would like 1….2….3. I like to hav a meshen tomes and two cars and I like three backogans”, signed Rigoberto.
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.
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.
NFWM’s Bert Perry Delivers State Department’s "Trafficking in Persons" Report to Publix Headquarters
Bert Perry (right) of National Farm Worker Ministry hands Publix representative a copy of the State Department TIP report.
On Tuesday, June 29th, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, allies from Interfaith Action and the National Farm Worker Ministry, and a reporter and photographer from the Florida Catholic traveled to Publix corporate headquarters in Lakeland, FL to deliver a copy of the U. S. State Department’s recently released “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report. The delegation had hoped to get a meeting with Publix representatives to discuss Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the urgent need for corporations to take responsibility for cleaning up human rights abuses in their supply chains.
Instead, they were met outside the offices at the security gate, by a Publix employee who said that he had no authority to speak on behalf of Publix. He accepted a copy of the TIP report and, after a brief exchange with NFWM’s Bert Perry, returned to Publix’s headquarters with the report.
As the CIW says, “It’s time for Publix to stop burying its head in the sand and to heed the growing call for farm labor justice. It’s time for Publix to meet with the CIW and join the growing partnership for real supply chain accountability.”
In related news, at the State Department’s 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report ceremony on June 14th, CIW’s Laura Germino was recognized as an “anti-Trafficking Hero.” In his introduction of Laura, Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said, “There have been many cases exposing servitude for both sex and labor in Florida. And the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers and Laura Germino have always been there. They’ve been important partners and, more importantly, an independent and pressing voice as they uncover slavery rings, tap the power of the workers, and hold companies and governments accountable.”
Click HERE to link to the Nation magazine article, Human Trafficking: Not Someone Else’s Problem, about Laura Germino’s award and the TIP report.
For more news from the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food, click HERE.
As we gear up for this April’s Farmworker Freedom March – and the Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum continues its historic journey across the state — allies across the country are already into the national Supermarket Week of Action in the Campaign for Fair Food.
This spring season, take action for Fair Food where you shop by urging Stop & Shop, Giant, Publix, Ralph’s, Kroger and other Kroger-owned grocery chains to address the sub-poverty wages and human rights abuses faced by farmworkers who harvest their tomatoes.
You too can get involved by dropping a Campaign for Fair Food letter off to the store manager of your local major supermarket chain! It’s easy to do: Simply download the manager letter here. Then deliver the letter to the manager of your local grocery store and ask the manager to share your concerns with the company’s corporate headquarters.
And if you are interested in joining a picket outside of a supermarket that is already being planned, or organizing one on your own, please contact CIW for more info. Pickets are taking place in the New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, and San Francisco Bay areas.
And meanwhile, don’t forget the huge Farmworker Freedom March coming up this April 16-18th from Tampa to Lakeland, FL. Check out the march website for everything you need to join us for the three-day march, including key logistics and registration information easy to find on the march site.
Thanks, and see you in Tampa! — Coalition of Immokalee Workers. For more information visit CIW’s website.