Protesters to Publix: Support Fair Wages for Farmworkers

By: Eyewitness News; Deneige Broom Email
By: Eyewitness News; Deneige Broom Email

People around the state are taking a stand. They're calling on Publix supermarkets to do what they call "the right thing."

Protesters Talk Wage Theft
by James Beuchele

Tallahassee, FL -- March 6, 2012 --

Protesters were out in front of the Ocala Publix in Tallahassee on Tuesday.

They claim Publix and many other corporations are supporting, through lobbyists, Senate bill 862. The bill would preempt any local governments from imposing regulations to deal with wage theft in their communities.

A similar House bill 609 has already passed in the House.

Wage theft can include anything from unpaid overtime to working during lunch breaks. Protesters say wage theft hurts low-income workers.

An ordinance in Miami-Dade County helped recover nearly $400,000 in lost wages.

Protester Michael Sampson says the same people supporting this bill are usually against state-run programs.

"These are the same people who complain about big government providing for goods like education and health care and now do they want to use big government to hurt Florida workers and we definitely feel that's a travesty," said Sampson.

---------------------------------------------

Tallahassee, FL -- March 6, 2012 --
by Deneige Broom

Some Floridians are in the middle of a six-day fast to protest the low wages of tomato farm workers.

A group was demonstrating in front of a Tallahassee Publix today as an extension of that movement. Eyewitness News reporter Deneige Broom was there.

Groups throughout Florida want Publix to sign its name to a growing list.

It's called the Campaign for Fair Food.

Those who sign up are agreeing to pay one more penny per pound of produce if the farms agree to pass the cent onto its workers.

Bill Phelan, supports food campaign, says, "There have actually been federal convictions of slavery in the tomato fields of Florida."//"The worker's don't get paid minimum wage. They work in the Florida sun with pesticides, no protection, no shade."

Tuesday this group of religious leaders --- showed their support for the movement --- asking Publix to do the same.

They all signed a letter addressed to the supermarket.

Brant Copeland, another supporter, says, "Publix is one of the biggest buyers of tomatoes in the state and if Publix leads the way, other buyers will follow."

The push began in 2001 when a group of farmer workers formed a coalition and successfully boycotted Taco Bell.

Now McDonald's Subway, and Trader Joe's are among the 10 corporations who have made the pledge.

"We love Publix.So we're asking Publix which has a high reputation for fairness to do the fair thing."

A spokeswoman for Publix says the company is willing to pay the extra money for the tomatoes but that the issue is between farmworkers and growers.

----------------------------------------

Tallahassee, Florida - March 6, 2012 - Noon -

People around the state are taking a stand. They're calling on Publix supermarkets to do what they call "the right thing."

One of the local protests took place a the Publix on Capital Circle and Centerville Road. A dozen or so religious leaders signed a letter asking Publix to support fair wages for farmworkers. This goes hand in hand with a six-day fast by more than 50 people in Lakeland, Florida in front of the Publix headquarters.

_____________________________

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - March 5, 2012 -

Florida farmworkers and their supporters are staging a fast outside Publix Super Markets headquarters in Lakeland.

The fast organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers started Monday and will last through Saturday.

The coalition wants Publix to join a program that supports pay increases for tomato pickers and prevents human rights violations against farmworkers.

Whole Foods Market, McDonald's and other larger corporate buyers of Florida tomatoes have joined the program.

A spokeswoman for Publix says the company is willing to pay the extra money for the tomatoes but that the issue is between farmworkers and growers. Shannon Patten says the super market chain doesn't get involved in disputes between outside employers and their workers.

But coalition spokesman Marc Rodrigues says Publix wouldn't be doing that by joining the program.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 141462723 - wctv.tv/a?a=141462723