You'd think a Florida-based company would care about men and women being enslaved in their own backyard, right? In Publix Supermarket's case, that's so wrong. Publix, one of the largest supermarket chains in Florida, has not only refused to address the slavery and exploitation of farm workers in their own backyard, they've practically laughed at it. According to Publix’s Media and Community Relations Manager Dwaine Stevens,
“We don’t have any plans to sit down with the CIW because it's not our issue... If there are some atrocities going on, it’s not our business. Maybe it’s something the government should get involved with.”
None of your business, Publix? Actually, when you sell tomatoes picked by enslaved or exploited farm workers, slavery is a huge part of your business -- it's in your business model, your business profits, and in the loss of business that happens when customers choose to shop at a supermarket that cares about workers.
Publix should follow the lead of many other leading companies in Florida and sign the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Campaign for Fair Food, which raises farmworker wages by a penny per pound of tomatoes and creates protections against slavery and exploitation. It's time Publix supported the workers of Florida and started selling slave-free tomatoes.