Florida farmworkers protest Southeast groceries

Florida farmworkers have taken their campaign for Fair Food to several states in the Southeast, focusing on the Publix grocery chain. Headquartered in Florida, the corporation has refused to sign on to a code of conduct agreement regulating the wages and working conditions in the fields where their produce, particularly tomatoes, is grown.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers members traveled to several states, including Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama. In each city they met with students, trade unionists, community activists, faith leaders and elected officials to describe the brutal conditions and poverty wages faced by farmworkers. More importantly, they shared the good news of their victories and the changes on the farms where the Fair Food agreement is in place.

At each stop, a local Publix was the site of a large, loud and colorful protest.

In Atlanta on Oct. 3, more than 200 people filled the sidewalks in front of the Ponce de Leon store, during the crowded evening rush hour. As the Publix managers looked on, chants filled the air and passing cars kept up a steady cacophony of approving horn blasts. The immigrant workers expressed their appreciation for the solidarity and declared that they would not stop their struggle for human rights and dignity.