tv Susan Marquis I Am Not a Tractor CSPAN February 18, 2018 3:30pm-5:01pm EST
vice president for programs here at the as spend institute and executive detector of the institute odd economic tubs program. the institute's promising policy strategies and ideas to help low and moderate income americans. we try to help people connect to business ownership, but we also spend pride thinking about how to reconnect people to work, how to connect people to good jobs, stimulate the creation of good jobs. working in america series we think about what is going on in the changing nature of work in the united states, how should we understand that, how other shoo we think about it and what does hat mean for the vast majority of americans, people and families who support themselves on their earnings through their work. we are delighted to have the support of the ford foundation,
the walmart foundation and the prudential foundation for our working in america series and we're very greatful to them for their partnership and support as we bring this series to you. so, today's conversation is around farmworkers and we have a treat today because we have both an author, who is going to be talking about her book, and a panel to include sort of the key players in this story that she has written about, who will be in a conversation today. so, we're excited about that. and you know, it's interesting to have a conversation about farmworkers so i don't know how many of you looked at the jobs report on friday. we think about job and the creation of work, but the thing is farmworker are not counted in the statistics about who is working in america. we think about work, and we frequently don't think about farmwork. we think about an economy going
from farms to factories, now to service and technology, but nonetheless, there's still over a million, and don't have very good count as our little fact sheet on your chairs well tell you, but over a million workers who are responsible for the food and vegetables by and large we eat. so it's fortunate to think about farmwork and we have an exciting story today, to think not only about that sector and also how workers in that sector really kind of took charge and how that can be related to other kinds of work in our economy. so we're excite about today's conversation. just before we start i want to make a couple of announcements. we are recording and live-streaming and very excited to have our colleagues from c-span here with us today. so if you have a phone with you, please do silence it. but please do tweet. our #is talk good jobs, and i --
we'll also have books on sale today after the event, they're on discounted price and we have the author here to sign them for you so book-sinning is at the end of the event. so please take advantage of that opportunity. now, i want to introduce the author of "i am not a tract for, susan marquis, who will start with some brief remarks about the book. [applause] >> it's a pleasure. i can't -- [inaudible] -- she was at rand for a different purpose entirely and starts talking, i recognized a kindred spirit here and we started talking about the coalition, about the fair food program, and knew this was a topic that would real estate nate with her organization, with as spend so i'm delighted be here, thank you to you and thank you to claire what is awesome, who set this
up. what if, what if you could actually change the world? what if you could actually affect real change that affects real people? what if we could do more than talk about a problem, more than protest bat problem, more than raise visibility of a problem, more than research about a problem, and actually fix that problem? what if we could actually solve it? that's something that is motivated me for quite while. i'm at the rand corporation and the school is focused on not just studying problems but affecting real change. so that is what this book is about, what the story is about, changing the world. let me step back for just a moment. i didn't grow up in the lanner world. i worked but didn't study it.
that's not really who i am. i grew up in guns and bombs. i grew up in the defense department hear no washington, dc, working in the pentagon. i left the pentagon in 2002, moved over to a nonprofit government consulting firm, and then became dean as a party rand grad wall scoot and now vice president of innovation at rand almost ten years ago. i became dean of the school. they raise money. and they meet board members. so i'm traveling around the country to meet this board member and that, and i'm heading to naples, to meet david wang, interesting character to say the least and i'll say more about him in a second. as i'm travel, i have this old copy or gourmet magazine and i'm flipping through it, roast chicken for two, elegant and
easy. korea, the new soul food. a great issue. i'm loving this. and then i flip to an article by barry easter burk. the food you're eating may have been picked by the hands of a slave. okay. that got my attention. i'm a bit of -- i don't like the term but foodie. i'm a good cook. am i allowed to say that? i've got people poo here who have anotherren my food before. i'm a good cook. i care bat food and i care about food policy, and have got ton know my farmers and care about he state agriculture and the treatment of animals but never thought about the people. never thought about the people who put the food on our tables? and barry's article got me think about that. talking about a coalition of workers. got my attention.
stick it back in my bag and go meet david wang, and david is a 80-something-year-old chinese-american engineer. he doesn't do the small talk thing. he is much more about being direct. i'm going to meet him. i'm a civil servant, at heart, and going up to this penthouse apartment and it's a little unnerving. the elevator opens up into his apartment and we sit in this really formal living room, and i can hardly see him on the other side of the room because of the glare from the bay, from floor-to-ceiling window and it's not going particularly well. we're really -- doesn't care about cute students to begin with and this is not helpful if you're a deep of the school. then he said something, i realize, i isn't that the to page to pickers? he then tells me rhymes of broccoli, amacilo and i start learning about the coalition, start learning about what
they're trying to accomplish, learning about their porch eventually he introduce note greg and laura and gerardo and lucas, and i visit. and the question is, this is really interesting. i care. it is horrible what has been happening and i'm like everyone else, appalled by the conditions that are rampant in american agricultures today. go bag to the bens of to country, go back to slavery and uneasy recommendation ship with immigrants and immigration. go back to jim crow. rampant wage steps, violence, beatings, gun violence, sexual assault, all the way to modern-day slavery. i'm appalled but that not much of a source. that's story that's been told and it's not what i was going to bring to this story. so right around the time i'm meeting with the coalition, something astonishing happens.
john f. forms is the first grower who breaks with the rather strong brotherhood of growers and signs with the coalition. when he dispossess some other growers follow we have again from confrontation to collaboration, partnership between the workers, the degreers and the top of the food chain. then it becomes the fair food program and they can implement this program very quickly, and you see the change within months, within a year or 18 months. they've lemonaded the condition that allow these abuses to occur. that's the story. and it's a story not just about farmworkers. it's about affecting real and sustainable change, story that is a model for all that we're
trying to do. it's a story that is a model for the future of labor and the dispute internationally and that's a story i recognized he could del because could talk about why this worked? most social responsibility programs have little effect except having us as consumers feel good because we bought our fair trade coffee. this is bat program that works. why did this work and who did this work? and that's the story i try to tell in "i'm not a tractor. "we're going to have the people who did this work on stage in just a moment. i want to talk about why i think it works. the first is because the change came from within. to affect reel and sustainable change, it can't be directed from the outside. it actually has to come from the people within the system, and in this case it was with the
workers themselves. this idea of the workers informing -- driving the change that happened, and of the community, and all those who were actually in the community as opposed to outside activists. the second reason i think this works is because in order to affect real change you have to change the system you have to actually understand the system and have to understand it from end-to-end and that's what the coalition figured out. fits and starts. took also while. but when they made the change in the late 1990s, they slipped outside the farm gate and looked beyond their immediate employers and looked to the system as a whole and saw that system as the workers, the crew leaders, the growers, buyer and the consumers and the power was at theof the food chain, where the power is, where the resources are. but it also provided a vulnerability because the same brands that had strength in the
market place, protecting that brand, was the haven't vulnerablity and that's what the coalition went offer. they have a coherent, cohesive and powerful store and toes with it. it's incredible when you visit them. had lot of visitors so you may want to hold off on that. they're a little overwhelmed. but it doesn't matter who you talk. to not like they're cherry picking people to talk to it's every worker i spoke with, every ally i spoke with, they had the same message. and it had to do we declaring human rights, treating every person with dignity, ensuring that because of that dignity they had a safer place to work and could get a reasonable amount of pay. the story was effective in developing -- in establishing and communicating with allies, allies became very important to this movement, particularly
faith-based organizations, and the student farmworker alliance so alliances with the campuses themselves. they didn't drive this change, but they identified with what the workers were fighting for, and they were able to support it. the fourth thing -- i think i have my numbers right here -- has to do with implementation. and i'm a policy wonk perhaps. i like to other think i'm a researcher and analyst rather than a policy wonk but implement addition matters and term -- it's not very interesting, it's bureaucratic, et cetera. one thing that coalition did -- this is a lesson for all of white house want to affect chiang -- they paid as much attention to what they were implementing to the program that you put in place as the did to the campaign itself. we can all feel good, marching in the streets. we can all feel good raising issues. but if you don't know what you're going to do once you win,
you're not going to have any effect. and it's the implementation piece that resulted in the comprehensiveness of the fair food program. it is not seen at any other labor program, any other social responsibility program. it begins with the workers themselves, whose expertise were drawn upon in order to develop the code of conduct. education of the workers, so everyone knows what their rights are. monitoring that includes not only scheduled and unscheduled audits bay third party, the fair foods standard council and also the workers themselves. so 30,000 or mow in every row, on every farm, monitoring their own rights. it's most of all this idea of consequences. there's a lot of programs out there that have codes of conducts, standards, and those are good and they're raising issues and saying, here is what
is expected. but the consequences are minimal to nonexistent for violating the standards. with the fair food program the consequences are real. the growers losing a is toast this mark because the buy ares who signed on, fastfood giants will not and cannot buy from. the a legally binding agreement. they can now into buy for them if they're not in compliance with the standard. those real-world market consequences that makes all the difference. that only comes when you think about implementation '. the last piece i want to highlight is the people themselves. it takes people who are courageous, who are clever, innovative, smart, but most of all, stick with it. this is not an easy battle. this started in the early 1990s. took courage to change the approach they adapted, more traditional approach we protests
and strikes and recognized this wasn't achieving the traps formational change. takes statisticking with it to negotiate with the campaign against and then negotiate with the fast-food joints and the grocery stores, so the buyerings, and takes per persistence to pay attention to detail. the system matters, the approach matters and these people you're about to meet matter a great deal. i think that sums it up and for now that's an overview and now we can dive into the fun part, the conversation. >> great, thank you, susan, and don't sit down there. you can sit down up here and i'll invite the other panelists to take the stage at this point. i will just briefly -- you have bios and materials on them all in your packet, so i'm not going to go over their byow but i encourage you to take a look at that. i'm going to put names to faces.
so your far right, is is greg, organizer of the coalition of amaci workers. next to greg is -- the one who challenged me with pronunciation -- gerardo reyes chavez. thank you. whos also a leader and organizer with the coalition of amacali workers. next to gerardo is john, ceo of sun ripe certified brands and then we have susan, who steven grownhouse, was a labor reporter for "the new york times," and has a book coming out in 2018 that we're looking forward to maybe hosting here next. so, i turn its over to you. >> thank you maureen. aim honored to moderate this
discussion. there are four impressive folks. i spoke to student issue didn't expect anyone from the defense department to be a good writer but she has written a very nice, very readable, very smart book, and really lays out very well the history of coalition workers. greg, i met greg in 1997-1998, down in florida, doing a story about horrific conditions for farmworkers, and you are fairly small organization. thought, this ain't going anywhere. and now 20 years later, i've written about coalition of amacali workers, one of the two or three most nonunion organizations in terms of lifting workers. really made a serious difference in the lives lives of 35,000 farmworkers and lifted not just
them but their families. and ammet gerardo a long time ago when he was rank-and-file worker, and i've seen him develop into a true later. if you have seen the movie "food chain" he plays a big role there i was at a training and he was speaking to 300 or 400 workers about safety issues and how to avoid sexual harassment, and he's a very impressive worker leader. and john was very courageous for years and years years years ando growers wouldn't talk to them and wouldn't negotiate and any gore that agreed to pay the penny more a pound that the coalition was working for, anything that agreed do that would get fined $100,000, and john kind of bucks the tide and reached a deal with the coalition and really his agreement, his courage in reaching a deal, has really
broken the dam and got things flowing and it's really made a huge difference down there. so, let me start with the question for greg. you were involved in the founding of the coalition. tell us why and how the coalition was founded. >> well, start with the why. you heard from susan the conditions that existed in the past and continue to exist frankly outside of the program and agriculture. i think what's the saying, life is solitary, poor, and nasty, brutish and harsh? it was outside of society. when we were first there late '80s, early '89's. a doing-eat-dog world where you would see people getting beaten in the central parking lot after getting checks because they complained about at the fact the check wasn't as much money as
they thought it should be, and nobody would come to their defense. you were by yourself and this sort of sense of the daily jukes that's >> i'll give you a couple of examples. alejandro is a worker today very luckily works at one of john's farms she describes her experience and says i was 14 years old,, and the first thing do was good to the field and toe work and a boss said, i can get you a better job, you're too young. can get you a better john in a packing house. jump in i truck and we'll good there you can imagine what
happened next. he attempted to assault her. fortunately, another worker saw what was happening and he intervened. what the boss wanted to do didn't happen but both she and the other worker were fired the next day. so that 14-year-old girl's experience in the field, 20 years ago, is not an isolated thing. it hasn't stopped happening. still happens in field in different places in the country, not under the fair food program but something that -- one of the extremes that's not untypical. another example is we were doing -- i was working with a group called legal service of -- florida legal services in florida and we were doing outreach, talking to workers, and some workers said, can you help us get our last check from the boss we were working for before. and we said, sure, do at all the
time. why didn'tow gut you're last check? they said we had to take off in the middle of the night, and we said, why did you take off? they said the police came. so we asked why the police came. it was because one of the workers stood up and said, we don't have to work by force. we don't have to stay here. i we want to change employers, we can. this is america. we're allowed to move from one job to another. and he got shot. and so the police came. and so we left. we need our last check. and so for us, the last step was important to get the last check but that was the beginning of an investigation that led to the -- a seminal case in the modern antibiotic trafficking movement called u.s. versus miguel flores. that was andro introduction for us to the -- an introduction to us for another extreme of labor
conditions which was forced labor. those or two examples you can take from concrete experience that we have had to see what the worst can be. then there's everything necessary between. daily humiliation for women and a kayla barrage of comments and unwanted advances, for everybody it's wage theft and unsafe working conditions. that's what led to organizationing, immokalee. how it happened? those conditions were -- why don't it happen everybody? part change -- there was a con funes of events in hitty, mexicoow, got ma los angeles for beam who had experience in fighting for rights and democracy in their own country, coming to the united states as refugees.
that experience was powerful stuff. to leave you with skills and approaches to working with a community that other people don't have and it so happened i also lived in haiti three years before going to florida, and worked with some people who were actually in immokalee the same time we got there. so we got together and decided to -- rather than just watch this parade of sadness good on, actually use the skills we had and start work with the community do see if we couldn't mobilize people to start demanding change. so that's why and how it started back in he early '890s gerardo >> her rahr dough can you tell us how you heard about the coalition and why you got involved and joined, first as a worker and then organizer and then activist? >> well, i've been a farmworker most of my life. i started when i was 11 years old. when i arrived to the immokalee
i was because of work you hear about ick mom -- immokalee and tomatoes and oranges and other crops. when i first arrived, i became roommates with workers who were part of the the cueyo case and they were able to get justice. met them because both i was picking tomatoes, the boss didn't pay me and my friend, so we end up being homeless for a few days, sleeping in -- happened to be owned by a crew leader, which is we call them chiveros, and this crew leader offer us to sleep inside his home. and it so happened -- we didn't accept his -- it was like 5:00. what happened is that this crew
leader was a member of the coalition, at that point, a -- and he knew the guys that were part of the case. he was actually the point of contact between those workers who were escaping from the case that happened, like, what nine miles away from immokalee in the swampy area of florida. i met them and we didn't know each other's stories but as we were just living together, as roommates, we started to share stories and they told me about the coalition. he invite node meetings and i got involved. to me that was a beautiful thing that was going on. so i participated in a march that happened. 234 miles to orlandoment one of the last actions as a community.
immokalee was doing to persuade the agriculture industry to sit at the table and talk about how to eliminate all of that. is this is what greg was talking about. we were also experiencing in our own life. so we carried a statue think statue of liberty, brown skin, worker and a book that says, human rights, and we were fighting for the recognition of our humanity, basically. it so happened that this statue now abandoned us for good rope. now it's living in d.c. it's permanent part of the -- permanent exhibit of american history museum. it's called "the nation we built together." we cared that stat tomb that's how we -- after that action i
couldn't just not continue to participate. started to learn english because i didn't spoke a word back then, by listen to people like you speak. so if i say something that doesn't make sense, it's your fault. [laughter] i'm not going to apologize for that. so, that's how i became involved with the coalition. we don't consider ourselves activists, organizers. for my perspective, and the privilege of many of us, that form the coalition, we are just people fighting for a better life, and we are -- we have been able to achieve agreements that are transforming the lives of thousands of workers, and aiming to expand this, whatever it is possible. >> john, can you talk about the history of your company, sun rise, and how you first met --
got involved with the coalition of immokalee workers? [laughter] >> how much time you got? sun ripe certified brands is family 0 -- fourth generation family-owned business, partnership win the s forms and the hell are family. we're both immigrant families. my family, the s-forms family is originally from a town -- came over right before world war i, and settled into new york. the story that is important to me and important to this story is how we ended up in the produce and eventually the farming business, is that my great-grandfather was working in a shoe factory in new york, and got sick,his doctor told him you can't work in the factory anymore because of the airborne
glue and you need to work outside. and that started us in the produce business in new york, with a push cart selling watermelons, eventually, on the bronx terminal mark, and eventually reaching out to farming -- building farming operations, first in update new york and eventually in florida, california. we were in cuba. and that was the genesis of our involvement in agriculture. sunripe certified brand is a partnership formed in 1982 between two families who had been longtime friends and partners in various deals. my relationship -- the company's relationship with the ciw is through the whole period of time that is being described, both in the book and you have heard up
here, as very adversarial, essentially at war relationship. we were aligned with all the other gores growers in the state of florida. our own family brown as farmers in california. we had gone through the wars in the '70s and '80s, battling the ufw, the united farm work user union. there was a lot of angst involved with a confrontational type of relationship. one that, when we heard worker organizations -- the initial response was to put on the flak jacket and get ready for war. that was our own reality. i actually have a scar behind my ear from a rock i took during a ufw strike in 1989. so that was where we came from
as we approached this relationship. my personal relationship to this is that i didn't know anything about the ciw until the mid-2000s. i am -- i guess i'll sigh i say it out loud -- i'm a recovering alcoholic whose family had to fire him in the mid-'90s because of my alcoholism and i did not return to the produce business until the mid-2000s. when he had achieved my open personal recovery. i tell that because that informs part of the rest of the story in terms of my involvement and my willingness to look at myself, look our company and acknowledge our own behavior in the past and do something different. as far as coming to a place where i touch on my relationship with the ciw, as i said i didn't
know anything about it. what i did know was our name kept popping up on the front page of "the new york times," related to human trafficking. >> there's a lot of relationships up here. >> tangled. >> all fake news. lift raft. >> s-h-h-h. the failing "new york times." >> the way the genesis of this was that i read in "the new york times" our family's name and our company, once again, and ask all of my partners, what is the deal here? has anybody ever met the folks at the ciw? this is crazy. and we all -- they all acknowledged we had abdicateed our responsibility in this story
to the grower organizations and i said how is that working out for you? let do something different and they all agreed and at that stage we reached out to the ciw and set up our first meeting. >> susan. >> can you discuss why didn't the government do more in the first instance to improve conditions for the farmworkers? >> so, farmworkers have always been on the outside. goes back -- as i messengered in my opening remarks -- to our history with slavery, up even relationship with immigration. really codified in the 1930s, when you had some of the major labor legislation, the national labor relations act, fair labor standards act, 1935 and 1938, i
think. really transformational pieces of legislation, provided protections we now take for granted. eliminating child labor, providing for overtime, the right to unionize, right to organize, that sort of thing. there were to two categories of laborers left out. farmworkers and domesticworkers. if you think for a moment, you can figure out why those were the two categories inch order to pass the legislation they needed southern votes, and african-americans were the people that work in those two categories, the ones on the farm fields and the ones providing domestic support. so they were left out of these major pieces of legislation and they were really left behind, even now they dent have the same protections as other workers. there were some changes in the 1960s, particularly after extraordinary documentary, harvest of shame, that was shown
on thanksgiving 1960. a few changes in the '70s but as a rule they've been left out of standard protections. >> greg, can you tell us they targeted taco bell and then burger king in its campaigns and how did you map the campaign and how did you ultimately win? >> well, abuse taco bell makes farmworkers poor. everyone knew that. as i think susan mentioned in her intro, we spent nearly a decade -- and john messengered this as well -- at loggerhead wind the log growers, and we made some progress but as gerardo was saying, we wanted to just have a better life. wanted to have a community that could solve problem that had been plaguing is for years, and
that wasn't happening. we had to find -- to take the analysis at deeper, the problem wasn't sexual assault. the problem wasn't slavery. it was the imbalance of power that made those things possible. that's what it is. it's the imbalance of power that make its it possible for someone to exert their will over someone else and that other person has no ability whatsoever to hold that person accountable and that's what existed so long. we needed to change that. so we had to find some sort of power that we woo allow to us take the scales and balance them again, and in a way that would essentially take those emergent property offed the imbalance and wither them away. so if you restrike the balance, where you have a humane, civilize ted relationship with the people who would have done those things in he past, those things stop happening and that's what we were seeking. so eventually you beat your head long enough against the wall and realize the wall isn't going away you have to fine another
way to get around it, and we found there was a voice that the growers had to listen. to didn't have to listen to us for a number of reasons but had to listen to the voice's their customers. couldn't refuse to hear the walmarts and the mcdonald's and the other major buyers of the world. in fact over the past several decades the food system has conson solidated at the top, -- consolidated, creating a power at the top. if you remember the indianapolis of inbalance, there was power at the top that was essentially being used as market power to drive down prices and that on the farm side of the farm gate, meant lower and lower wages and worse conditions. but in effect that power is neutral. it's not necessarily negative. not necessarily -- doesn't necessarily create negative consequences for workers. simply it's nonharnessed to
create positive consequences for workers. we decided to be the first to harness that power to change the direction of its impact and to actually improve workers' lives rather than impoverish them. so the analysis was that there was this opportunity for us to address companies like taco bell, inform them of the conditions in their supply chain and they would come to us and say, how can we help? we don't want slavery in our supply chain witch don't want seeks all harassment or assault. what can we do to help? turns out didn't work that way, though. we sent letter after letter, and didn't get any response, and so finally we decided that we would have to go to the public and educate the public, which is where the clever slogan about taco bell making farmworkers poor, which we had to explain to students in the country and
people of faith and others, until there was enough pressure on taco bell, particularly on university campuses where students were saying, how do we know that the tomato in a chalupa wasn't picked by a slave? that was tough. there was in fair-food program. so students were demanding on the campuses that taco bell be removed from the campus until it could answer the question could meet with the ciw and work with the ciw to be able to an that question. that's how it started. and from there taco bell, after four years of campaigns, signed an agreement in 2005, mcdonald's followed, burger king followed, most of the fastfood industry followed with one exception, which remains an exception today, which i wendy's. >> we should boycott wendy's.
>> outside information. now there's 14 companies that support the fair food program, everything from walmart to mcdonald's and whole foods, and it's their purchasing power. it's the power of -- the industry they call it the power of the purchasing order. in fact we're not the first -- the industry itself dealt with this. the industry had problem that was an existential problem which was salmonella, e.coli, food borne illnesses. at some point not too long ago, the retail end of the food industry insisted to its suppliers to be a supplier, to be able to sell to major buyers, you had to meet food safety standard. those didn't exist 20 years ago 30 years ago, but do now. and by using the power of the purchasing order, saving you are not certified, you can't sell to us. they actually have made a major dent -- you can't get rid of
offering but a major dent in in-food-borne illness outbreaks. the same thing to stop sexual assault, slavery, other thing that have plagued farm wishings for generation. >> i often tell people one of the cool things, if i may use that word, about the coalition of immokalee workers, who makes sure the growers comply with the workers rights? it's walmart, it's mcdonald's, it's taco bell. if growers violate worker rights, they pull their order. so instead of having the government enforce you have the power of the purchasing order but it's a real important power. >> we should make this a very popular program as you see today. >> we thank the walmart foundation for -- seriously. so, the program describes itself as a worker-driven program,
worker-driven social responsibility. can you talk about in the importance of being worker driven and when you had the church groups and synagogues and rabbis and student groups supporting you, how did it remain worker-driven and have these -- not have these other groups running the show. >> in both instances when we are in a tour, the -- talking about taco bell. from the very beginning we started to talk to people in every place that was willing to share about what we were trying to communicate, which was we're aiming to bring corporations to the table so we can, working with them, also bring the agriculture industry to have a conversation. when we weren't talking with all of these different audiences we made sure they understood that
this was -- we were not asking people to save us. we were not asking anybody to come with the right answer for our issues. we were not looking for experts, because we are experts in our field. and contrary to what many people and many experts said about farmworkers, we also have the work to create what we created. the program. so we made sure people understood and we were actually using an equation that we created in immokalee, c must c equal c. we're not mathematician and we are not aiming to be but we are people that have the capacity to analyze things and be able to share our message in an effective way. so c plus c equal c is -- the
reason why that was really important to be used in immokalee and organizing with our community, as well as in advocating people in universities and churches, is that you cannot just jump when you hear -- many people have the tendency to jump to solutions right away, without con suiting with the community -- consulting with the community but fighting for their rights some people when we tell the story they want to -- we talk to people and say, yes, it's nice, but we need justice. we don't work 10 to 14 hours a day every day of the year that's work available. and we still have to depend on
people's good will to be able to put food on the table. on thanksgiving, a lot of people from different rich communities to give free food to our people, and that is a question that for us, when talking to people, we make sure that the understand, we're asking for justice, not for charity, and we are the people who will educate you about what the issues are, and then when people decide to come with us and commit, that unavoidable result of that is change, and we have seen that. so it is crucial that whatever the communities trying to accomplish, that is clear from the beginning to whoever is listening, that the struggle is to believe -- led by workers.
in the implementation side of thing, with all the agreements we have, the reason why the fair-food program works is because when we go the fields, we conduct sessions of education which basically are about an hour long. we talk about all the rights we have under the program, that workers have, and they receive a booklet that contains all of the rights with the different growers. when that happened, workers know they've protected for the fir time; that under this program, that our market consequences, that will be triggered if any company, tomato grower refuses to do what they agreed to do under this program. so every worker, when they hear their rights and know that these rights are guaranteed in their
workplace, then they aren't going to complain. it started slowly but surely. when we started with the session of education, workers started to call and then see how the program work, reports abuses, sexual harassment, wage theft, violence in he field all the things we knew existed but for the first time workers witness how those abuses were fixed. surprisingly enough, people who reported them were not fired or beaten like in the past. so, that is what the program is and why it is important. we have 30,000 workers that have -- because of those protections, because of those market consequences, and because of the work that we collaborate with the industry, they become
monitors. that is what makes that complaint-based mechanism so effective. >> question for john. about --on and his company were the very first one to sign an accord with the coalition of immokalee workers. remember reading an that said you were in a rush to do this before the jewish holiday of yom kippur and wanted to reach the agreement before sundown. you were the first to sign on. what caused you to finally go from war to peace with the cools immokalee workers and must eave felt a lot of pressure from other growers, buyers, and then you probably felt pressure from your family members and from farmworkers as well. can you --
>> first of all, i don't in the whether i was living in a vac call or what was going on -- a vacuum or what was going on, but the point at which my partners and i i had that conversation which if referenced before, and the signing of our agreement, was maybe two months of which the first month was our attorneys speaking to even other to get a confidentiality agreement so we could even sit down and talk. my perspective on it and my relationship it to is that we had no pressure from out, from any of our competitors, because they didn't know what i was doing. i had no pressure from customers because they didn't know what i was doing, and i had -- we really -- i guess what i'm saying here is that our decision to sit down and meet with the
coalition was our business, our interest, and our desire to understand who and what they were before we proceeded any further. that first meeting, we call it the cup of coffee now but i walked in and met with greg and lucas, and the first thing told them was i'm here to have a cup kofi fee and decide whether i like you and i trust you because if i don't, we're not going anywhere. that was the purpose of our first meeting. i very quickly identified that not only was i sitting with someone who i liked and i felt a kinship with, but that i was sitting with folks who were advocating on behalf of the people i'm in the life boat with, which is the farmworkers,
we all -- we go on to that farm and that's our lifeboat. that's how we all feed our families, how we all pay our bills. and in seeing my business, our business, that way, what i realized was that i -- what understand was that i had more in common with the folks that come to work with us every day than i did with any of my competitors. they're in a come boating lifeboat. this is ours. that's theirs.: 0, theom yom kippur. i'm in recovery and part of my recovery was i got sober at a nonprofit faith-based jewish rehab in los angeles, and part
of that was a lot of study, yom kippur is the finishing of the days of reflection, and the start of the new year. so, i was anxious to be able to -- because i was in this process, to start the new year with this agreement. >> the first strike was the 1995, when john's company cut the pay rate for workers in 3,000 to maaco workers wounding out for a week. and then 22 decade later your company was the first to sign. >> atonement was made. >> yes. yes. attention must be paid. tell us, greg, about the social responsibility and how it differs from corporate spent and where else do you see worker-driven social
responsibility being asupplied where else might it by expanded? you cook about that for an hour. >> yeah. actually john's example, i want to work in john's example as the sort of thing that companies should be doing broadly. worker driven social responsibility. wsr. we gave is -- is a paradigm for protecting human rights and corporate supply chains, that grew out of the fair-food program and the success of that program. we were in one eye the harshest laboratories you can possibly choose. we had a series of change and you can actually drive an improvement of conditions on the ground in greg and that theory -- we tested against relevant in the florida tomato industry and the rules wereon anything we expected. so, that was great. and we know there are certain elements to worker driven social
responsibility that are necessary for it to work. we sort of isolated those from everything else, and started to present that to the world as a new paradigm. a new way to actually protect workers rights and corporate supply chains. corporate social responsibility and the worker-driven social responsibility share something in common, which they beth have standards, right? so in any corporation today, any 21st century corporation, has a code of conduct for suppliers, suspect addition -- expectations but you would be hard pressed to find any company with an enforcement mechanism that is real behind the standards and therefore the standards or little more than paper. standards about enforcement for workers are not just paper, they're a lie because they're telling you, you have rights. what if she had seen there was a
corporate code of conduct in her case and saw she had rights and stood up and went to the company and complained. what would happen to her 20 years ago? not only get fired, might get beaten or worse there is no enforce. there is no protection, there is no reality behind the standards 'that's 99% of corporate social responsibility today is still that. standards without enforcement. worker driven social responsibility is social responsibility led and monitored and enforced in a partnership between workers, growers, and buyers. many 0 elements have been talked about. workers experience and insight on the job, inform the standards, the code of conduct. think in worker driven responsibility codes that are different from the one in the corporate drawn code. things very specific to how you
actually do get exploited on the particular job. so, that's one thing. ... >> the audits and the one thing that corporate social responsibility will say that we have audits behind our code. as a one-day superficial and whether it be -- generally part of it will go in and talk with less than 5% of the workforce and they will be gone.
the company knows when they're coming and tell them what to say. in this case, the audits are the council in our case monitors the program talks at least 50% of the workers. they talk to a thousand before they leave to get as real solid pitcher of what's happening out there. they get into the books and talk about the management they work with management to make sure systems are in place to guarantee compliance. it's not designed to catch fonts. it's to help identify bad actors and that practices so they don't become risks. behind that is the market consequences.
if there's a corrective action plan and the grower is reluctant to say found to be fairly harassing women because the recruiter has been good for a long time than the grower has to make the decision. stick with it and leave the program and not be able to sign to the 14 companies to get rid of it and continue selling to those companies. farmer often the decision has been made the right way to get rid of the person doing those things. as a result companies have become better operational. companies who by don't have to worry about public relations crises popping up in the supply chain and workers the dignified lives. the last thing, what john did
was crucial to making it happen where we are to breaking the resistance. it is something that all companies if the suppliers of ice in the century need to consider and see the leadership. what john did was to align his company's value with their business model. when you are out of alignment and have a business model that inherently drives negative outcomes that's where problems happen faster. the thinks could become major crises. so that's what was happening,
john was able to do something that more and more companies need to do. it takes visionary leadership. to look at your business model identify the problems and fix them. align them with your values. lastly, you can get away with not doing that in the 20th century because basically consumers trust corporations were than they do today. we didn't have the same expectations as we do today to help solve social problems. today, we trust less but we have higher expectations to help solve problems. the only way you can bridge the gap is to do a john did. align your values with your business model and become an advocate for.
step up and advocate this is the best way to do business. when you do that consumers see that you're sincere and authentic and you will thrive in the information age. twentieth century could do what you want now is not the same. >> susan euro policy analysts, what do you think other businesses worker groups should and can job from the example what might it mean for future research into poverty and inequality and worker efforts? >> the partnership is important. it is benefited not just the workers category themselves they
now have people in the field when i have a much more stable workforce. if you're trying to reduce turnover gives you more stable workforce. for the buyers they have a brand protection that's their value in what they're worried about. they know they have a clean supply chain. level point not just for the buyers but for all of us to take away is that change is possible. it's as possible if we start looking places for new solutions. world has changed and it's important to look beyond the government for solution. if we wait for the government it will not get done.
some things they do well in some things they don't. we've never done well with the issue of labor. nongovernmental solutions persistent and complex policy problems is what we need to be looking for. >> an amazing thing is that without any government assista assistant. it's all in the private sector. >> maybe that is why it worked. >> of an open the floor to questions. >> thank you, i learned a lot. doctor mindy reiser, vice president of a global peace service. were interested in ways to reduce conflict, give people opportunities to transform their lives.
in terms of the farmworker workforce, other provisions in terms of education to move up if they wish in the chain of banishment with the company learning other skills they could go into accounting health policy, or public health related to agriculture production? what opportunities are there for people to further their own education while staying within that agricultural sphere the, and i will make, i learned so much in my relationship with
others. there is a movement now with fair trade and all of the different types of programs out there, whether schools are attached to it, stores with discounted food available, one of the important conversations that i've ever had was with lucas. were talk about the issue and he looked at me and said, i don't need you to tell me where my kids should go to school. i don't need you to provide cheap food for me as his mentioning they don't need free turkeys on thanksgiving. what they need is to be treated fair or have a safe place to work and live their lives. that resonated for me both as a business owner and human being.
quite frankly i don't want anybody tell me what resources are available to me in my kids. that's how i would say about that. >> i'm alan taylor, used to work for osha for number of years. particularly, i used to teach at the labor college in new york city, i know little bit about the history of labor unions. they used to be social justice and social improvement before they were power brokers and their clinics in schools and i wonder if that's part of your vision for the ci w.
>> there was a lot of people that in the past were not support what were trying to do which is change. expand the games we have achieved with disagreements. it was a difficult thing to direct people to support what we're doing. a lot of effort in trying to support charity work related. >> with this new paradigm that we have, there are millions of workers still worker not just in the field but apparel factories
and dairy that are suffering the same things we been able to eliminate in the tiny sector of where we are in the fair foods program. we could work until were dead to get what we've done to those workers first when people i also as people to do a little experiment i grew up around here at the street sure see you drive out in the summertime it's beautiful. imagine you driving to your food stand and it's everything you ever hope for. you grab a bag and put your stuff up and go to the cashier. and then there checking you out. just really that happy buzz that
you feel and then you hear screen and you look over it is still worker being beaten, pistol whipped by the anybody most people would stop elyse run away in horror. someone stop it from happening. where the organization who tries to stop it from happening. there's a hierarchy of needs. you stop stopping people get beaten and having their checks stolen. once you've done that then you start on the other things. there's so much work to be done in low-wage labor to give people the power they need to make
things work across the globe that we don't have time for them yet. >> we are trying -- to look at the relationships we have to create together with them not directly but working with people telling them this is a good place to start in terms of the housing. so there's different ideas being explored on that front. as greg was saying, the list is huge. and they need to be at the center. we need to fix what hurts the most and eventually it will expand. >> i had an opportunity to speak at ucla law school. one question that came up to the
panel was what new legislation to a need to see that these rights are guaranteed? what you're hearing from us appears that this is not about new legislation, this is about ensuring the things on the books right now they can us was to steal people's wages and sexual harassment is against the law. slavery is against the law. the resources don't exist in the extended reaches of agriculture to enforce these laws. what this program has done for me is give me a tool that on my 15000 acres of farmland, i now have thousands of patrol folks
because there dark parts of our firm. about 99.9% sure about how i might behave, as i go down the hierarchy of my management team i become less and less certain. that's as it applies to management. there's a lot of work on worker harassment that can take place. these are all things this program has helped me as a business owner addressed to perfect provide the fair safe work environment i'm supposed to be providing. >> pgh so, mike, one of the things with worker standard is a decent wage, decent benefit, it seems like you don't really deal
into that area and talk much about that. like what would the average wage as part of the fair food program. >> we do talk about. that's the whole reason why the coalition started organizing to address working conditions. i would say in terms of wages, we are able to eliminate -- of a bucket. i would be asking the same question if i was you. presses workers means 10% less tomatoes in every bucket you bring to the truck. this is how it used to be this is how to sell.
so there's violence in the fields and when you grab this bucket and according to the standard of the dumper on top of the truck is not full enough he would be sent back. if you talk back you're very likely become another victim of violence. the bucket would be thrown to your face. in the process of eliminating this we became to address this issue by eliminating the overfilling of the bucket and creating a new standard. so that is 10% more deduction for the first time you will be paid to you as a worker. another is the payment that seals the implementation of the
program all what is the tomato growers exchange that we are working with. there has been more than $26 million distributed to workers in the form of a bonus in their checks. it has different names but it's clearly identified by workers. it's not a lot of coming $20, 40, 60 or more depending on the business interaction with the corporation by the tomatoes on this program. that means the urgency of the public to bring these to the same because that amount should be much more than that. right now i have about 20% of the market. when the corporations to do the same instead of running they created a solution for that
problem and also the problem with the imbalance of power. will find the solution and not just identify, but stop in on its track get rid of it that hasn't been a single claes of slavery but there continues to be issues and violent situations happening outside everywhere. so when we found the solution the growers were supplying them for years, growers that were providing tomatoes were profiting from it now they decided to go to mexico when we created the issue. but it's wrong. were they to bring more corporations to do the same to
increase more of that bonus. also since we started to work with the industry the wages have gone up, it was 40 - 45 cents per 30 plus years and six years now it is 55 on average, 60 on some companies. i don't know. things are moving in the direction they should. i would bet it does not a coincidence it is a working relationship, human to human all-wheel taken into account the things that matter the most. >> will do a lightning room.
said it was set to success, what are the chances you might spread your wings to the fruit industry in the midwest or tall of california? where the rural. >> we are in the initial stages of talking with growers and texas. the program are working with vermont for helping establish their own milk with dignity program. the ben & jerry's is there primary corporate partner. we have inquiries from all different directions, from workers and corporations that want us to expand our footprint. i'm working through those things.
right now it's up the east coast but we wanted to be everywhere can be. >> an hour lightning round. if you want the members of the audience to take one thing. a question to ponder, what would it be? >> changes possible, if you want to change a system look at the system as a whole. i believe the coalition has done this we need to look at a new model for addressing labor issues that benefit the buyers, the corporations and the worke workers. >> i'm not going to leave you with my words. i'll leave you with the words of the rabbi. in a free society summer guilty,
all are responsible. we all bear the responsibility to ensure our fellow men and women are treated fairly in the workplace and at home and have safe places to go to work. that's the challenge of what it means to be human and live in a community be part of something. >> a call to action in new york city we will do in -- i got excited. we will be in new york and all over the country see you can join us and we will do this for the entire day's, this is key
player he is the president of a hedge fund and they invest a lot of money and have a lot of power. so we are going to the headquarters will be joined by church leaders and people of different universities by the country the combination will be in much we hope to have thousands of people so help us spread the word the 11th to the 15th of march and we are bringing the message that it is time for them to do the right thing and to help us expand the protections of sexual harassme harassment. i would just say that there is no change that happens because
we wish it would. the action is what makes it possible for every corporation to come on board to use the power in a responsible way. it's not science. we need to spread the word we shouldn't be depending on someone else we know their things are wrong so let's do this together i'm not sharing this i don't want to convince you, it's an order. i'm not asking this as a favor. because social change shouldn't
depend on charity and away on that regard. asking in convincing people about a basic understanding. just look the food that you have on your table with your family and friends that came from somewhere. we are the people responsible for those moments whether you have thought about us or not. were asking for the same ability to do just that with their own family. but we need you to recognize that. [applause] >> markets are hierarchical structure power flows down.
what we have discovered is that the power in the food market most people assume the major retail brands that we know. in fact, we are the top of the ladder, consumers. the problem is we don't act in certain ways that corporations do. we don't use our power and corporations tell us what we need to know about food. when we act in a concerted fashion we can change that. we can tell corporations how we want food to be produced. the way to the farm and the crew leader level so we can change such as the food market but everything that we live in, all the things that we buy that we know conditions are not right but we don't act on it.
>> thank you all so much. thank you for please try man thanking a fabulous panel. [applause] will be sending bucks so please join us for that. please come back on february 21 will be having opportunities. please come back for that. thank you to the panel for an inspirational and informative discussion. thank you. [applause] >> look to be tapes hundreds of other programs of the country all year long. here's a look at the events will be covering this week. monday politics and prose in washington, d.c. will hear former special counsel
from president clinton share his thoughts on the outcome of the election. tuesday we had to roosevelt's house were former white house official in cabinet secretary will examine our democracy and share views on how to bring back trustworthy systems of government. later at new york university for the pan-american literary awards. even annually since 1963. recognizes books. . . >> will be at saint anselm collegen new hampshire to discuss why moderates might be less likely to run for congress. later that night, rutgers professor britney cooper will examine the power of what she calls eloquent rage and how it can be harnessed as a resource to bring about change. and on friday, robert reish will
talk about the economic and social cycles societies experience and their effect on the common good. that's a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on booktv on c-span2. >> hello. good evening. i'm glad you're here. happy new year, as we like to say, welcome to liberty forum of silicon valley where at least once a month we know that we are not alone. so look at all of us here. [applause] i'm delighted to bring back mr. lance izumi. it's been a long time. he was a featured speaker when the forum was still down in santa clara, for any of those in the audience who remembers those days. and now he's here and he's back, and his main focus is education, and he'll talk about corruption in the