Representatives from the Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice told Historic City News reporters that they intend to picket tomorrow’s Annual St Johns County Chamber of Commerce Membership Breakfast to express disappointment with the Chamber’s chosen topic and guest of honor.
The pickets from Gainesville, Jacksonville and St Augustine, are reportedly allies of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers showing support for the Fair Food campaign.
Dwaine Stevens, Publix Media and Public Relations Manager for North Florida, will be speaking on “The Publix Culture” at tomorrow morning’s breakfast meeting at Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, near St Augustine.
The Coalition wants Publix to pay an additional penny for every pound of tomatoes they purchase; ostensibly to improve the working conditions and pay of tomato farm laborers.
Publix has not agreed to the Coalitions demands — insisting they cannot monitor working conditions everywhere their produce is grown.
“When Trader Joe’s agreed to pay a penny more a pound for the tomatoes they buy, it made a real difference in the lives of the workers and their families,” James Taylor, director of Fair Food Jacksonville, said. “That extra penny almost doubled their take-home pay, bringing it closer to minimum wage.”
Taylor says his group doesn’t understand why Publix supports fair trade coffee from another continent, but refuses to join other food industry leaders, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, in supporting fair tomatoes harvested in their home state.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News archive photograph Fair Food Jacksonville