C.N. Gorman Museum FLASH! Series Presents:


Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Curated by Paige Culver and Students for Sustainable Agriculture
Photos by Shiho Fukada. Reprinted with permission from CIW

 


 

Brought to you by the Students for Sustainable Agriculture at UC Davis, the current FLASH! exhibit documents the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their struggle toward field-workers rights in their community.

The town of Immokalee is in southern Florida, where 90% of the country’s fresh tomatoes are grown during the off-season. According to the 2000 census, Immokalee had a population just under 20,000 with almost 40% of the population living below the poverty line. The farmworkers pay exorbitant rent to live in cramped, dilapidated conditions and wake before dawn to seek work for the day. If they are chosen to work, they are loaded onto busses and transported to the fields, where they work constantly in the Florida heat to pick and haul 32 lb. buckets of tomatoes. At a wage of 40-50 cents per bucket, a worker must haul 2.5 tons of tomatoes in one day to make 50 dollars. Work is never guaranteed for tomorrow.

 

In 1993, the Coalition of Immokalee workers (CIW) was founded in order to educate the farmworkers and to help them in their struggle for better pay, treatment in the fields, and living and working conditions. CIW has seen many successes in the fast food industry, including agreements with Yum! Brands (Taco Bell), Burger King, and McDonalds to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes (which raised the wage from 45 cents to 77 cents per bucket) and implement codes of conduct to eliminate abuses in the fields.

The CIW is currently in negotiations with Sodexo, the UC Davis food service provider, to come to a similar agreement. CIW has previously relied upon religious, community, and student support in boycotts and marches to pressure companies to do what is humane and right. To this end, the Students for Sustainable Agriculture at UC Davis has been pleased to partner with CIW and the Student Farmworker Alliance to help bring awareness to the UC Davis community about the Sodexo negotiations through this exhibit.


 


To see previous
FLASH! exhibitions,
click here