CIW Visits VT and Offers Solidarity for Our Milk With Dignity Campaign
Posted Thu, 08/21/2014 - 4:39pm
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers Visit VT and offer Solidarity for Our Milk with Dignity Campaign!!!
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) from Florida have served as a source of deep inspiration and hope for Migrant Justice members of how to truly advance the fundamental human right to work with dignity. After decades of struggle they now count with 12 binding contractual agreements with major corporate players from Taco Bell to Walmart and each agreement represents a deep transformation of work place conditions for thousands of farmworkers. And just as important they have engaged thousands across the country and globe to build a movement for worker's rights that is enjoying tremendous success.
So--after years of pestering the CIW-- they came to VT for an amazing encuentro between Florida and Vermont farmworkers to discuss:
Migrant Justice and CIW leaders shared their personal struggles working in our food system and learned about the hard work behind some big and inspiring movement victories in both Florida and Vermont.
Migrant Justice member Victor Diaz, who recently joined our farmworker coordinating committee reflected, "We are in an exciting moment as an organization with this Milk with Dignity Campaign! Today, we met with the CIW from Florida learning how to organize our communities concrete goals for a brighter future. It was a huge day of sharing experiences and ideas! Arriba!"
Then, we visited 2 farms together--and a CIW leader remarked, "The social isolation here is something that I can't even imagine how your members deal with." Another commented, "I spent just a few minutes in the barn and my throat and eyes were burning from the smells--I can't imagine working there for years or even worse thinking about children growing up in these conditions." As far away as Vermont is from Florida (in many ways!) and as different as tomatoes are from milk we all agreed. Our workplaces and livelihoods can only be improved when workers have a voice and build power in order to determine what 'fair food' or "sustainable agriculture" really means. Workers are excluded from definitions of 'sustainable agriculture', 'fair food' or even 'food justice' and the CIW has shown us a solution!
We ended the day making a clear commitment to eachother to continue walk together asking big questions about how we can build this movement together and launch our Milk wit Dignity Campaign! Our next step is that Migrant Justice is going to Florida by the end of the year to see the CIW in action and learn from the innovators of Worker Driven Social Responsibility in order to launch our "Milk with Dignity Campaign"!!!
TAKE ACTION! Do you want to sponsor one of our farmworker members to go to Florida at $500 per worker? If so please donate as much as you can on-line here.
For more about CIW visit to Vermont go here.