Farm Workers and Students Protest at Publix [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Angelica Alvarez Email
By: Angelica Alvarez Email

Tallahassee, Florida- September 12, 2012- 12:07am

Oscar Otcoy is a farm worker in South Florida, protesting in front of the Publix on Ocala Road in Tallahassee.

For six years, he has picked tomatoes seven hours south of the capital city in Immokalee. He's one of many workers who say for a 10 hour work day, at the most, they can make $75. So he made the trek with the coalition of Immokalee workers to fight for better wages and to ask Publix to join in that fight.

"We're here to ask Publix to sign the Fair Food Program that would pay one penny per pound of tomatoes," said Maria Valderrama with Advocates for Immigrants and Refugee Rights.

"This is directly passed on as a wage increase for workers who are paid poverty wages at the moment," Marley Moynahan, with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Members of the group even tried going on Publix property to deliver a letter in a plea to management but they were stopped by sheriff's deputies, then escorted in.

The group returned, with a promise that management would turn that letter over to their corporate office. Not exactly the message the group or Otcoy wanted to hear, but one that they say is not stopping them in their fight for a better life.

For three years, Publix has chosen not to participate in the Fair Food Program on this issue. They say it's a labor dispute, one between the farmer and the workers, not Publix.

Here is a link to Publix's stance on this issue:
http://www.publix.com/managed_pdfs/2012/Backgrounder_for_Media_page_on_p_com__2_.pdf


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