Picketing at Publix Grand Opening

On April 28th, 2011 Publix opened up a new unit on the corner of University Blvd and N Goldenrod Rd (Orlando, FL), replacing a now bankrupt K-mart that I used to frequent as a teenager.
The news of this was relevant to me in two ways. The first way is that my mom wanted me to apply for a job at the new Publix; it is close by, and ironically, they are known to treat their employees very well.
On the other hand, this event was also a no-brainer opportunity for YAYA to let Publix know that we are still waiting for them to come to the negotiating table with the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers).

So, I didn’t apply for a job but we- YAYA- and a small delegation from the CIW headed the event.  It was very cordial, to say the least.  We were able to get a lot of attention from our numerous signs as drivers were commuting to work in the morning.

This event clearly helped raise awareness in the community about farmworker issues and the farmworker movement since we were rallying right outside a brand new Publix. People in the community knew this was a new Publix, so demonstrating at it- while it still had its new smell- was crucial.
Our action helped the CIW’s campaign for fair food for the same reasons.  New stores “should” be welcomed in the community, or so I would have been known to believe in my pre-YAYA life, but no more.
If anything, this was a way to let the community know that Publix really isn’t treating everyone it profits from humanely.
We need to let the public know that Publix is where exploitation is a pleasure.

-Juan Barredo
Orlando YAYA

(Photos by Dominick Marino)

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