Walmart has joined with its Florida tomato suppliers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to strengthen and expand the groundbreaking Fair Food Program.
“We are truly pleased to welcome Walmart into the Fair Food Program. No other company has the market strength and consumer reach that Walmart has,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW. “Through this collaboration, not only will thousands of hard-working farm workers see concrete improvements to their lives, but millions of consumers will learn about the Fair Food Program and of a better way to buy fruits and vegetables grown and harvested here in the United States.”
By joining forces with its Florida tomato suppliers and the CIW, Walmart’s involvement will strengthen and expand the existing Program’s impact on farmworkers, and demonstrate the company’s continued commitment to the Florida tomato industry as a whole. As part of the agreement, Walmart will work with CIW on these objectives:
•Expand the Fair Food Program beyond Florida to its tomato purchases from participating Florida-based growers with operations outside the state during the summer harvest season.
•Reward those Florida tomato suppliers whose operations best reflect the principles of the Fair Food Program with longer-term purchase commitments.
•Work over time to expand the Fair Food Program to other crops beyond tomatoes in its produce supply chain.
•Work with its Florida tomato suppliers to build the current Fair Food Premium directly into Walmart’s cost for Florida tomatoes, with growers continuing to pass on the Fair Food bonus to their workers as part of the established payment system monitored by the Fair Food Standards Council.
•Support the CIW and its participating Florida tomato suppliers to eventually achieve a higher, more sustainable bucket rate paid to workers for harvesting tomatoes. This change will streamline the financial foundation of the Fair Food Program to focus resources on raising the bar for ethical farm labor conditions beyond the Florida tomato industry.
Most of Walmart’s Florida tomato suppliers participate in the Fair Food Program, and on those farms this agreement will take effect this season. The CIW will work with Walmart and its remaining suppliers over the coming season to develop systems and practices necessary to bring them online by the beginning of the 2014 season. All of Walmart’s Florida tomato suppliers will be subject to audits by the Fair Food Standards Council and to the Fair Food Program’s worker complaint resolution mechanism.