announcement that Mexican fast food chain Chipotle has, at last, signed an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve wages and working conditions for Florida's tomato farmworkers. The agreement comes right before the winter growing season, when most of the nation's tomatoes come from Florida.Big news came yesterday with the
It's about time, Chipotle! Earlier this year, FIC explained how the chain's trademarked slogan of "Food with Integrity" continued to ignore the routine exploitation of food workers – potential whistleblowers whose voices should be heard. Now that Chipotle has joined CIW's Fair Food Program (making it the 11th company to do so), its public image has some real accountability to back it up.
From the CIW press release:
The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages and binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure which workers can use without fear of retaliation. The Program also provides for independent third party audits to ensure compliance.
Since most farmworkers lack whistleblower protections, CIW's Fair Food Program is a good alternative for workers in the tomato industry, enabling them to have a voice in an otherwise silent and opaque food chain.
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.