Coalition of Immokalee Workers Honored With Four Freedoms Medal!

Congratulations are in order once again for WhyHunger friends the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, honored with this year’s prestigious Four Freedoms Medal from the Roosevelt Institute! Recognizing two decades of farmworkers’ struggle for human and economic rights and the unprecedented advances of the Fair Food Program, the award places the CIW among a worthy group of recipients including Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Studs Terkel and Elie Wiesel, among others.

The award recognizes the success of relentless organizing by the Coalition and its allies to gain momentum for farmworker rights. Many of these tangible victories have come through the creation and growth of the Fair Food Program, a unique farmworker- and consumer-driven initiative consisting of:

  • A wage increase supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes;
  • A human-rights-based Code of Conduct, applicable throughout the Florida tomato industry.

The price premium and the Code of Conduct, which were developed by tomato workers, growers, and corporate buyers, form the foundation for a new model of social accountability across the supply chain.

With eleven corporate partners to date, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Chipotle, the Fair Food Program continues to gain momentum and visibility. The Coalition is now putting pressure on Wendy’s, Publix, and Kroger to join other fast food and food service companies in protecting farmworkers from wage theft, sexual harassment in the fields and unsafe working conditions.

Get involved and take action with the Coalition by visiting its website, which includes plenty of resources to take action locally or online, and downloadable educational materials to organize in your area.

The awards ceremony is to be held in New York City on October 16th, details will be posted on the CIW website as they are confirmed. Well deserved, CIW. We’re looking forward to more meaningful victories ahead for farmworkers and their families.

Christina Bronsing