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Fair Wages Cost a Penny

Locally-based grocery chain backs push for fruit picker pay raises

By Richard Whittaker, 3:38PM, Tue. Sep. 9, 2008

Whole Foods Market tomatoes have just got a little more ethical. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has been criticizing the Austin-based grocery chain for months, alleging they were "more interested in cheap tomatoes than the well-being of those working to get produce to the store." Now they are praising the firm for signing on with the Penny a Pound initiative, where commercial buyers like Whole Foods will back paying an extra 1 cent per pound surcharge for a wage increase for tomato pickers in Florida.

Whole Foods is also looking at extending its Whole Trade Guarantee program, which promotes ethical sourcing for its foreign-grown produce, to domestic supplies (bit sad that they'd have to, since it should go without saying that workers should be getting fair pay.)

As for CIW, having previously taken on Taco Bell and Burger King, and with Whole Foods now on board, the union has set its sights on its next target: Chipotle.

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