Coalition of Immokalee Workers to demonstrate in Temple Terrace Saturday

click to enlarge Protesters demonstrate outside a Tampa Publix in Nov. 2014. - Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Protesters demonstrate outside a Tampa Publix in Nov. 2014.

For years now, an organization consisting of low-wage farmworkers — many of them migrant — and activists has been waging war with fast food and grocery giants over the way those who supply produce to those establishments treat their farmworkers.

And they've had some success in getting companies like Yum Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell and other chains) to pay more for tomatoes so that workers could earn a decent wage.

Despite their many successes, though, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which is based in southwest Florida, still has its battles, as working conditions for many migrant farmworkers, they say, are still deplorable, at times even involving forced labor and sexual abuse.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., the group will demonstrate outside two businesses in Temple Terrace, and ask them to pay more for their tomatoes so workers can have better lives. The event is scheduled the Saturday before Thanksgiving to remind consumers where their food comes from.

The first stop is a Publix at 11502 N 53rd St., followed by a picket at Wendy’s a few blocks over at 11720 North 56th St.

The Publix protest "comes as a response to the Florida-based supermarket’s six-year rejection of invitations to meet with farmworkers and consumers to discuss their responsibility to farmworkers’ human rights in their supply chain," according to a media release.

As for Wendy's, the group said, the fast food giant continues to blow off "invitations to meet with farmworkers and consumers to discuss the burger giant’s refusal to do its part to protect farmworkers’ rights."

And apparently, it's the last one of all the major fast food chains to do so.

"Of the five largest fast food corporations in the country, Wendy’s is the only one not participating in the FFP," said the media release.