As we approach a new year, Moyers & Company asked some of the people trying to change the world for the better to tell us what made them proud in 2013, and what their hopes and dreams are for 2014. Here’s what Lucas Benitez, a farm worker and activist with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, told us…
Our movement and our Campaign for Fair Food is in a moment full of hope as we work to remodel and reconstruct the agricultural industry. For the first time ever, farmworkers in Florida’s tomato industry have a place at the table and a voice being heard by their employers through a system designed by us workers.
While these changes are real, and our hope for continued progress grows, we are dismayed by corporations like Publix, Wendy’s and Ahold who refuse to join 11 food industry leaders in being part of the historic changes taking root through the Fair Food Program. These corporate holdouts continue to ignore — and even worse, are trying to reverse — the gains we have made. They seem to want to put workers back under the table by supporting an irresponsible market that allows sexual harassment and cases of modern-day slavery to flourish, where verbal abuse is the daily bread for hundreds of workers.
For 2014 we hope to bring some of these food industry giants to the table so that they can finally understand that the future of their company, be it a supermarket or a restaurant, is linked to the future of the farmworkers in their supply chain.