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Farmworkers March 200 Miles, Stop in Tampa

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has been asking Publix Super Market Inc. to be a part of a Fair Food Program for the farmworkers who work the tomato fields. The CIW is on a 200 mile march from Ft. Myers to Lakeland and they stopped in Tampa today.

The CIW is in its fourth year trying to persuade Publix to sign its Fair Food Program agreement. It calls for better working conditions and a "penny-a-pound" bonus for its tomatoes.

Credit Yoselis Ramos
Lucas Benitez is co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

One of the CIW founders, Lucas Benitez, said 11 corporations have already signed onto the pledge but Publix won't budge.

"And Publix- we're not asking them to invent anything, the wheel is already going, the vehicle of justice is already on its way," he said, "but Publix doesn't want to be a part of it."

Publix representatives have said before that the issue is between the farmworkers and their employers-- not Publix.

Their statement says that Publix believes it is the responsibility of all its suppliers to manage its own workforce.

The CIW will end its march at Publix Headquarters in Lakeland on Sunday.

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