Florida farmworkers are among the most impoverished, least protected workers in the U.S. Conditions in the fields include sub-poverty wages, no right to organize, and no benefits whatsoever. In the most extreme cases, workers face situations of forced labor and modern-day slavery. The human rights crisis is as severe as it is well-documented.
Fortunately, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is leading an effort to bring about a new day in Florida agriculture. Since 2001, the CIW has partnered with consumers nationwide to pressure large buyers of Florida tomatoes—companies such as Yum Brands, McDonald's and Burger King—to pay a premium price for more fairly harvested tomatoes and to require higher labor standards from their Florida-based tomato suppliers. In time, this initiative will raise the wage floor for thousands of migrant farm laborers and end Florida's harvest of shame.