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Landmark Fast-Food Tomato Accords in Danger of Collapse

IMMOKALEE, Fla. (AP) _ Landmark deals to boost wages for Florida
tomato pickers are in danger of collapsing under pressure from Burger King and a growers group.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers fought for years to persuade McDonald's and Taco Bell owner Yum Brands to pay a penny more per
pound of Florida tomatoes.

But Miami-based Burger King has joined the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange in opposing such a deal.

The growers exchange maintains the agreements may violate antitrust laws. It's threatening members that accept the deal with $100,000 fines.

Several antitrust experts say the association may be the one violating antitrust laws by banning its members' participation.

Meanwhile, the growers and Burger King recently teamed up to offer media tours of tomato fields to counter allegations of below poverty-level wages and abuses of some workers.

Negotations appear to be at a standstill, although both sides say they would be willing to talk.


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