By Chipotle and Coalition of Immokalee Workers |Press Release

Chipotle becomes the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is designed to create a sustainable tomato industry through respect for the rights and concerns of all involved.

DENVER, October 4, 2012 – Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program. The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.

Good News for Florida’s Tomato Workers: Chipotle Signing Ceremony

The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages and binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure which workers can use without fear of retaliation. The Program also provides for independent third party audits to ensure compliance.

“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all – workers, growers, and Chipotle – can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners — every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants — in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”

“Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation’s food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use — sources that produce food in ways that demonstrate respect for the land, farm animals, and the people involved,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “We believe that this agreement underscores our long-standing commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”

Chipotle becomes the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is designed to create a sustainable tomato industry through respect for the rights and concerns of all involved. The Fair Food Premium paid by participating buyers like Chipotle is used to help participating growers improve wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers.


2 Responses to Chipotle Signs Agreement with CIW to Join Fair Food Program

  1. KAY says:

    So happy to see this. While traveling this summer in Oregon, I heard about the atrocious treatment of tomato growers in Florida. Funny we hear so little here in Florida. Of interest was how pregnant farm worker women were forced to work in the fields in order to retain living quarters…even up to birthing day. Apparently Florida laws, and big grocers, such as Publics have allowed this to happen.

    • Diana says:

      Thanks Kay for your comment. I too was very happy at this sign of progress after reading the joint Chipotle/CIW press release. The conditions of the Immokalee Workers is really a grassroots issue for us here in Central Florida and they need our solidarity. A couple months ago Ethel Kennedy came down to demonstrate her solidarity with their cause when the workers were fasting at Publix corporate headquarters. Unfortunately, Publix is unwilling to negotiate, unwilling to even sit down and talk. I am aware of their position every time I shop there, which like most of us here, is frequently. I have written Publix corporate HQ and never received a reply. It seems they are just as unwilling to talk to their customers! You may be interested in reading the chapter of Chris Hedges new book on Florida’s Immokalee tomato workers. It is excellent.