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TAMPA, FLA. -- For one hour in front of a Publix grocery store in Tampa, a group of farmer workers waved signs, yelled and chanted in protest of the supermarket giant.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers called on Publix to join their Fair Food Program, which helps improve wages and working conditions for the people who help put Florida's tomatoes into store shelves.

"This Labor Day marks five years that we've been calling on them to sign the agreement," said farm worker Nely Rodriguez, through an interpreter.

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The CIW wants Publix to join companies like Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's and McDonald's and pay workers one extra penny per pound of tomatoes picked. The group claims that seemingly small increase in price would help farm workers immensely.

"We need Publix to be part of the change to bring this transformation to all (tomato) fields," said Rodriguez.

Retailers that are already participating in the Fair Food Program only buy from farms that comply with a stringent code of conduct to protect farm workers from abuse. Over 90 percent of Florida's tomato growers had pledged to abide by the Fair Food Program.

Now, the farm workers in front of Publix want the supermarket to join their mission.

Publix Protest Web Extra

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