Tallahassee, Florida - Farm workers across Florida continue their effort to push Publix to join a program that provides higher wages and better working conditions.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers set up a display Wednesday on the campus of Florida State that included a pyramid of ten tomato buckets. Members of the group said a farm worker makes $5 for filling up the buckets with tomatoes, while Publix earns more than $1,000 from that quantity.
Workers want Publix to join the Fair Food Program, which helps make sure an extra penny per pound of tomatoes goes to farm workers and ensures fair working conditions.
Farm worker Oscar Otzoy said through a translator the program requires companies to buy only from farms that enforce a code of conduct against abuse.
"That code of conduct ensures things like shade and water, which were never seen before, and the ability for workers to file a complaint without fear of retaliation, among many other rights that were previously denied to farm workers for decades and centuries."
Farm workers say 10 major corporations have already joined the Fair Food Program, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Taco Bell.
Publix calls the issue a labor dispute between farm workers and growers and insists it doesn't involve the company. Spokesman Dwaine Stevens says Publix would pay the extra penny per pound if it is included in the cost of produce.