Kicking off its N.C. Publix Truth Tour Oct. 28 in Asheville, the Florida-based group has traveled statewide to schools, churches and film screenings of “Food Chains,” which documents the Coalition’s relationship with Publix.
“We’re here to demand Publix become a part of the Fair Food program,” said Santiago Perez, a farmworker and member of the Coalition, through the translation of Shelby Mack of the Student/Farmworker Alliance.
Perez said hundreds of thousands of farmworkers are affected by this program, which is designed to keep corporations accountable for upholding rights for the people who grow and pick their food.
The program includes 14 corporations, including Walmart — which was considered one of the Coalition’s biggest wins.
CIW called for the prominent Florida supermarket, Publix, to pay a penny more per pound for their tomatoes, which would double the Immokalee workers’ wages.
“Publix continues to expand its stores into North Carolina, but at the same time they continue to refuse to even sit at the table with farmworkers,” Perez said. “They continue lying to consumers by not revealing the truth of the conditions in which the produce that they sell is picked.”
He said CIW started by challenging Publix in Florida, but has now expanded their campaign to include more states and workers beyond tomato pickers.
Store management and police officers stood to the side of the small protest in Cary — at the Triangle’s only Publix supermarket — to keep the peace.