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Coalition of Immokalee Workers strikes pricing deal with food giant

Aug. 24, 2010


The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is now three for three with the world's major food service companies.

The farmworker group announced that Sodexo has signed its Fair Food agreement.

That means multinational integrated food and facilities management services giant Sodexo - with $7.7 billion in annual revenue and 120,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Mexico alone - will pay extra for Florida tomatoes produced under a strict code of conduct.

Under the agreement, Sodexo will pay a 1.5-cent premium for every pound of tomatoes picked, with the extra money going directly to harvesters, who will now earn about 82 cents for each 32-pound bucket they pick, up from 50 cents per bucket. The raise means their annual earnings could rise from about $10,000 to between $16,000 and $17,000.

There are at least 30,000 migrant farmworkers in Florida's $400 million tomato industry, from which 95 percent of the nation's tomatoes come between October and June.

Sodexo joins the world's other two major food service companies, Compass and Aramark, which signed the agreement in the last year.

The $12 billion Philadelphia-based Aramark supplies food to corporations, schools, health care facilities and sports venues around the world (including FGCU and Fort Myers' City of Palms Park) and is one of the nation's biggest private companies, with 255,000 employees and clients in 22 countries.

The three companies have pledged to favor Florida growers who meet higher labor standards and to shun those associated with labor abuses.

Big chains such as Yum Brands, McDonald's, Burger King and Subway have already signed on.

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