WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement regarding a breakthrough in the relationship between Florida farm workers, represented by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange:
“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has just proven that when you get up every day to fight for what is right, when you don’t give up even when all the odds are against you, when you don’t compromise on basic principles of fairness, and when you build a strong grassroots movement, economic justice will prevail over greed, and the least fortunate can successfully stand up to the powerful.
“Over these long years, there were many times when Florida’s tomato workers and the CIW could have backed down and just walked away. Thankfully, they did not. I applaud the CIW and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange for reaching this historic agreement. We now have to be vigilant to make sure that tomato workers receive the pay raise that they have rightfully earned and that slavery and abusive labor conditions in Florida’s tomato fields are abolished once and for all.”
Sanders for years worked with the coalition of farm workers in order to help them receive the treatment and pay they deserve. The senator held a Senate labor committee hearing, along with the late Edward Kennedy, to spotlight working conditions on the farms. Sanders also visited Florida and surveyed the conditions which were so graphically depicted 50 years ago in Edward R. Murrow’s report “Harvest of Shame.”