JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local residents joined farm workers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers on Thursday night to demand that Wendy's and Publix join the Fair Food Program, which works to improve farm worker conditions and wages.
The workers and residents marched from Wendy's at 3910 University Boulevard West to Publix at 2875 University Boulevard West as part of a 10-city, 10-day tour, according to a release by the CIW.
Twelve corporations, Florida tomato growers and farm workers work in partnership through the Fair Food Program. According to the release, "participating corporations support more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers and purchase exclusively from those who meet higher standards" including fairer wages, "time clocks, health and safety protections and a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment."
The Fair Food Program was launched in 2010. More than 90 percent of Florida's tomato industry participates in the program.
High schooler Michael Marin came to the demonstration with several of his friends to show their support for the need to raise the farm workers' wages to the "penny-per-pound" model.
"We're not just sitting around texting and playing games," Marin said. "We actually want to be here and make something happen."