tv Susan Marquis I Am Not a Tractor CSPAN February 25, 2018 8:30am-10:00am EST
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provide an achieving economy. we try to help people connect to business ownership and helping business strategies. we also spend a lot of time think about how to reconnect people to work, how to reconnect people to good jobs and stimulate the creation of good jobs. as for working in america series with think about what's going on in the changing nature of work and the united states, how should we understand that, should rethink about it and apartment what does that mean for the vast majority of americans, people and families to support themselves on their earnings to the work. we are delighted to have the support of the ford foundation, the walmart foundation, and the predigital foundation for our working in america series and we are grateful to them for their partnership and support as we bring this series to you. 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's written about who will be any conversation today. we are excited about that, and it's interesting to have conversation about farmworkers so i do many of you looked at the jobs report last friday. we think about jobs and the creation of work but the thing is farmworkers are not even touted in the statistics about who was working in america. we think about work and we frequently don't think about farmworkers with think about an economy that's gone from farms to factories, now to service and technology. but nonetheless they're still over a million and we don't have very good counts as our low fact sheet on your chairs will tell you, but over a million workers who are responsible for the
food, the fruits and vegetables by large that we eat. it's important to think about farmer and we have an exciting story today to think not only about that sector but also about how workers in that sector really kind of took charge and how that can be related to other kinds of work in our economy. we're excited about today's conversation. just before we started want to make a couple of announcements. we are recording and live live stream, very excited to have our colleagues at c-span2 with us today. if you have a phone with you please do silent it. please do tweet. our hashtag is talk good jobs. we will also have books on sale today after the event. there are a discounted price and we have the author here to sign the 40 so we will have book signing at the end of the debt, so please take advantage of that opportunity.
and now i want to introduce the author of "i am not a tractor!," susan marquis, , who started off with some brief remarks about the book. [applause] >> a pleasure. i met maureen last year and merely she was at ranford different purpose entirely. i recognized her kindred spirit here, we started talking about the coalition, about the fair food program, and knew this was a topic that would resonate with your organization come from delighted to be. thank you and thank you to claire as well who is awesome, who has set this all 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 about a problem, more than raise visibility of a problem, more morgan research a problem and actually fix that problem? what if we could actually solve it? that's something that is motivated me for quite a while. i met the rand corporation, an increase in the school itself is focused on not just editing problems but actually affecting real change. so that's what this book is about. that's what this story is about, changing the world. let me step back for just a moment. i didn't grow up in the labor world. that's not really who i -- i grew up in guns and bombs. >> i grew up in the defense department in washington, d.c. working in the pentagon. i left the pentagon 2002, moved over moved over to a nonprofit
government consulting firm and then became dean as a party rand graduate school and a vice president of innovation at rand almost ten years ago. so i became dean of the school. what he deems to? they raise money. they meet board members from traveling around the country flying to meet this board boarr and that and i'm heading to naples to meet david wayne. interesting character to say the least. i'll say more about images the second but as i'm traveling, i haven't had a lot of time i got a copy of gourmet magazine, when's the last issues, i think the march issue and then flipping through it, rose chicken for two, elegant and easy. korea, the new soul food. that's a great issue. i'm loving this. then i flipped an article that may been picked by the hands of slaves.
okay, that got my attention. i'm a bit, i don't like the term but fuji. i'm a good cook. i got some people are would be my food before. it's not bad. i'm a good cook. i care a lot about food. i care a lot about food policy. i got to know my farmers. i care about the state of agriculture correct about the treatment of animals. but i never thought about the people. i never thought about the people up to put the food on our tables. the article got me thinking about that. they're talking about this coalition of immokalee workers. i did know how to say immokalee then. got my attention, stick stickyn the bag and go meet david wang. david is an 80 something year old chinese-american engineer. he doesn't want to the smalltalk thing. he's much more about being very direct. i'm going to meet him.
on the civil certain at heart, a public servant at heart become going up to spend us apartment and its unnerving. the elevator opens up into his apartment and we sit in this really warm living room. i can hardly see money of the set of the room because of the claire from the floor to ceiling windows. it's not going particularly well. he doesn't care about cute students to begin with. then he said something i realized weight, isn't that the tomato pickers in immokalee? he tells me that rhymes with broccoli. we connect and a start learning about the coalition. i start learning about what they're trying to accomplish. i start learning about the progress they've made and eventually david introduces me to grade and laura and gerardo and lucas. i go and visit. the question is, this is really interesting, i care, it's
horrible was been happening and i'm like anyone else, appalled by the conditions that are rampant in american agricultural today. these are problems that go back to the bones of her country. they go back to slavery, they go back to her and even relationship with immigrants and immigration. they go back to jim crow era. rampant wage steps, violent beatings, gun violence, sexual assault, all the way to modern-day slavery. i'm appalled but that's not much of a story. that's a story that's been told and it's not what i was going to bring to this story. so wide around the time i meeting with the coalition, something astonishing happens. john forums is a first grower who breaks with the rather strong brotherhood of growers and signs with the coalition but when he does so, some of the other growers follow up excitedly with gone from confrontation to collaboration,
a partnership that is never existed before between the workers, the growers and the top of the food chain. and that's when it starts to come together. because at that point the campaign for fair food becomes the fair food program and are able to implement this program very quickly. and you see the change within months, within a year or 18 months. they had eliminated the conditions that allow these abuses to occur. that's the story, and it's a story not just about farmworkers. farmworkers. it's about affecting real and sustainable change. it's a story that is the model for all that we're trying to do. it's a story that is a model for the future of labor in the united states and internationally. that's the story i recognize i could tell. i could tell because what i could talk about is why did this work. most social responsibility
programs, particularly social responsibility principle effect rather than have consumers feel good because we bought our fair trade coffee. this is a program that works. why did this work and who did this work? that's the store and try to tell in "i am not a tractor!." we're going to have the people of done this work on stage in just a moment, but i want to talk for a moment what i think it worked. the first is because the change came from within, to affect real 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 within the workers themselves. this idea of the workers of informant, of driving the change that happened. and of the community and all those who were in the community as opposed to outside activists. the second reason i think this worked is because in order to
affect real change you have to change the system, you have to understand the system. you've got to understand it from and to and and that's with the coalition figured out. fits and starts, took a little while but when they made the change in the late 1990s they looked outside the farm gate. they look beyond their immediate employer and a look to the system as a whole and they saw that system as a workers, the crew leaders, the growers, , the buyers and even to consumers. they saw the strengths, that i was at the top of the food chain. it's where the power is, where the resources are. but it also provided a vulnerability because the same brands that strengthen the marketplace, protecting that brand was the vulnerability and that's what the coalition went after. the third reason i think this worked, why did this work, is because they have a coherent, cohesive and a powerful story and they stuck with it.
it's incredible when you go and visit them. they've had a lot of visitors lately so you may want to hold off on that, a little overwhelmed. it doesn't matter who you talk to. it's not like they are cherry picking people to talk to get its every worker i spoke with, every ally i spoke with. it had the same message and it had to do with declaring rights, human rights, about treating every person with dignity, ensuring that because of the dignity they had a safe place to work and they could get a reasonable amount of pay. the story was effective in developing in establishing and communicating with allies. allies became important to this movement, particularly faith-based organizations and the student farmworker alliance, so alliances with the campuses of 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 buy numbers right, has to do with implementation. i'm a policy wonk. i'm a researcher and analyst rather than a pollywog -- policy wonk but implementation matter. implementation is one of the terms we dismiss. it's not very interesting, it's their credit, et cetera. -- bureaucratic, et cetera. they paid as much attention to what they're implementing to the program be put in place as it 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 which are going to do once you win, you are not going to have any effect. 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 and knows what their rights are. monitoring that includes not only scheduled and unscheduled audits by a third party, the fair food standards council, but also the workers themselves. you have 30,000 or more in every row on every farm monitoring their own rights. it's most of all this idea of consequences. there's lots of programs out there that have both contact standards et cetera those are good. they are raising issues and saint here's what's expected. but the consequences are minimal to nonexistent for violating those standards. with the fair food program the consequences are real. the rovers -- growers losing access to the party because the buyers who signed duncan the fast food giant in the grocery
stores will not buy from them, cannot buy from them. they cannot buy from them if they are not in compliance with the standards. so 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. it took courage to change the approach they had adopted, more traditional approach to purchase and strikes and recognize this wasn't achieving the transformational change. it takes sticking with it to negotiate with the campaign against and negotiate with the fast food giant and the grocery stores, the buyers. and it takes persistence to pay
attention to the details necessary to implement and that's a remarkable skill set. the system that is, the approach matters of these people you're about to meet matter a great deal. so i think that sums it up, and for now that's an overview and that we get to dive into the fun part, the conversation. >> great. thank you, susan. don't sit down there. you can sit down up year and i will invite the other panelists to take the stage. i will just briefly, you have bios and materials on them all in your packet, so i'm not going to go over their bio but i do encourage you to take a look at figure i'm just briefly going to put names to faces. so to your far right is great as that, cofounder and member of coalition of immokalee workers. next to grade is complete when he challenges me with
pronunciation, gerardo reyes chavez, who is also a a leaderd organizer with the coalition of immokalee workers. next to her ardo is john s farmers, ceo of sunripe certified brands. next to john is susan we just heard from, and we're delighted have monitoring today's conversation steven greenhouse who was a live report for the near times for more than 30 years and has a book coming out in 2018 that we're looking forward to maybe posting your next. stephen, i turn over to you. >> thank you. thank you, marine. i'm honored to be asked to moderate this discussion because they are very for impressive folks understand her up and reading the book and as i told susan, i didn't expect anyone to work for the defense department to be a good writer. [laughing] but she's written a very nice, very, very smart book and it really lays out very well, the
history of the coalition of immokalee workers. greg asbed that, i met grade in 1987-1998, done affordably a storybook horrific housing conditions for farmworkers. you are a fairly small organization. i thought this ain't going anywhere. and now 20 years later, i've written about coalition of immokalee workers in my book. i think for my money is one of the two or three most effective worker organizations, nonunion worker organizations in the country terms of lifting workers. it's made a serious difference in the lives of 30-35,000 farmworkers and lifted not just them but the families. i first met geraldo a long time ago he was the rank-and-file worker and i've seen him develop into a true leader and will have you seen the movie food chain. he plays a big role there. i was at a training and he was speaking to that 300 300 or 400
works of safety issues and how to avoid sexual harassment. he's a very impressive worker leader. and jon esformes was very courageous. for years and years the tomato growers refuse to deal with coalition of immokalee workers. they basically boycotted, they wouldn't talk to negotiate. the negro or that agreed to pay a penny more abound that the collisions with a broken any quote agreed would be fine $100,000. and jon kind of bug 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 truly made a a huge difference down there. so let me start with a question for greg. you were involved in the founding of the coalition of immokalee workers. tell us about why and how the coalition was founded.
>> well, start with the wife. you heard from susan -- why. the conditions that existed and computer access frank outside of the program in agriculture. i think, what's the saying, like his solitary, poor and nasty, brutish and harsh? is that the version of life outside of society? immokalee was essentially outside of society. we were there in the late '80s, early '90s. it is a dog eat dog world where you would see people getting beaten in us of the pergola after getting the check because they complained about the fact the check was as much money as a thought it would be. nobody would come to the defense. you are by yourself, alone and it was this sort of sense of the daily exercise of raw power that defines the town. a deep imbalance of power that
allowed that to happen. and so, rather than describe it argued couple of examples. alejandro is a worker who today, very likely works at one of john's farms, but she's been here for over 20 years. she was talking to cnn not too long ago when she described her experience when she first got to the country 20 years ago and she said she was 14 and the first thing i did was go to the field and worked, and a boss said i can get you better job. you are too young to be in the field. i can teach a better job in a packing house. jump -- jump in my truck and will go there. you can imagine what happened next. he attempted to assault her. fortunately for her, another worker saw what was happening. he intervened. what the boss wanted to do didn't happen but both she and other workers were fired the
next day. so that 14 year old girls experience in the field 20 years ago is not an isolated thing. it hasn't stopped happening. still happens in the field into the place in the country. not under the fair food program but it is difficult. when these extremes that's not an typical. another example is i was working with a group called legal service, florida legal services early on in florida. we were doing outreach talking to workers and some workers came up and said can you help us get our last check from the boss we working for before? we said sure, we do that all the time, no problem. why didn't you get to last check? a said well, we had to take off in the middle of the night. and we said, why did you take off in the middle of the night? the police came. so it 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. if you want to change employers we can. this is america, we are about to move from one job to another. and he got shot. so the police came. so we left. we need to get our last check. for us the last check was important, we got the last check but that was the beginning of investigation that led to a seminal case and the modern antitrafficking movement called u.s. versus miguel florez. that was an introduction for us to another extreme of labor conditions when we first started organizing which was forced leader. those are the two examples that you can take concrete experience that we've had. there's everything else in between. there's daily humiliation, for women a daily barrage of comments and unwanted advances.
for everybody it's wage theft and unsafe working conditions. that's what led to organizing immokalee. how what happened, those conditions, why doesn't happen anywhere? why doesn't spark change of mood. i think it's one of those things that there was a confluence of defense in haiti, guatemala, mexico in the early '90s only two people having experience in fighting for the marks and human rights in their own countries, coming to the united states as refugees. that experience was pretty powerful stuff. it leaves you with skills and approaches to recruit a 20 that of other people don't have. it so happened i also lived in haiti for three years before going to florida and worked with the people who are actually in transit at the time.
we all got together and decided to, rather than just watch this parade of sadness go on, to actually use the skills we had and start working with acumen to see if we could mobilize people to start demanding change. so that's why and how it started back in the early '90s. >> can you tell us about how you first heard about the coalition and why he got involved enjoyed first as a worker then as an organizer and as an activist? >> well, i've been a farmworker most of my life. i started when i was 11. when i arrived it was because of work. you get about immokalee, you about tomatoes, oranges, many other crops. so when i first arrived at immokalee i became roommates with workers who are part of the second case of slavery that the
coalition was able to bring to justice. through that case, i met them because both i was picking tomatoes, the boss didn't pay me and my friend, so we end up in homeless for a few days, sleeping in -- [inaudible] happen to be owned by a crew leader, and this crew leader offer us to sleep inside his home. it so happens, we didn't accept, there was like five of us. what happened is that these crew leader was a member of the coalition, like he was a driver. he knew the guys that were part of the case of slavery. he was actually the point of contact between those workers who were escaping from a case
that happened, like, what was it? nine months away from immokalee? in the swampy area florida. i met ben ben and we didn't know each other story, but as we were living together as roommates, we started to share stories that they told me about the coalitio, inviting me to the meetings. i got involved and to me that was a beautiful thing that was going on. i participated in the march that happened 234 miles to orlando. that was one of the last actions as a community immokalee was doing to persuade the agriculture industry to sit at the table and to talk about how to eliminate all of that. we were also experiencing it in our own lives. so we carried a a statue, the
statute of liberty, and a book that says human rights. we were fighting for the recognition of our humanity, basically. it so happened that this statue no, it abandoned us for good reason. now it is living in d.c. the smithsonian as far as exhibit, permanent exhibit of american history museum. it's called a nation we built together. we carried that statute. that's how we met, after the action i could just, not continue to participate. started to learn english because i didn't spoke a word back then. if i say something that doesn't make sense, you fault. [laughing] on the going to apologize for that. [laughing]
so that's how i became involved with the coalition. we don't consider ourselves activists, organizers. i mean, from my perspective, , e perspective of many of us that term the coalition. we are just people fighting for a better life and we been able to achieve really important agreements that are transforming the lives of thousands of workers, and we are aiming to expand this, whatever it is possible. >> and jon, can you tell us a little about the history of your company, sunripe, and i you first met, got involved, but with the coalition of immokalee workers? >> how much time have you got? sunripe certified brands is a family owned, for the generation family-owned business,
partnership between -- we are both immigrant families. my family is originally from a town -- [inaudible] and can overwrite before world war i. and settled into new york. the story that is important to be an important to the story is how we ended up in the produce and eventually in 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 factories anymore because of the airborne glue. you need to work outside, and that started us in the produce business in new york with a pushcart selling watermelons, eventually on the bronx terminal market, and eventually reaching
out to building farming operations first in upstate new york and eventually in florida, california. we were in cuba. and that was the genesis of our involvement in agriculture. sunripe certified brands is a partnership is formed in 1982 between our two families of been longtime friends and partners in various deals. my relationship, the companies relationship with c iw is through the whole time that is being described both in the book and that you heard up here as a very adversarial essentially outdoor relationship. we were aligned with all the other growers in the state of florida. our own in the background as farmers in california, we had
gone through the wars in the '70s and '80s battling the ufw, united farm workers union. there was a lot of angst involved with a confrontational type of a relationship, one that when we heard worker organization, the initial response was to put on a flak jacket and get ready for war. that was our own reality. i actually have a scar behind the air 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 did know anything about the ciw until the mid-2000s. i am, i guess i'll sit out loud
loud, i'm a recovering alcoholic whose family had to fire him in the '90s because of my alcoholism, and i did not return to the produce business until the mid-2000s when had achieved my own personal recovery. i tell the because that informs part of the rest of the story in terms of my involvement and my willingness to look at myself, look at 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 that c iw, as i said i did know anything about it. what i did know was that our name kept popping up on the front page of the near times -- [laughing] -- related to human trafficking speeders there's a lot of relationships up here.
>> tangled. >> it was all fake news. [laughing] >> and, quite frankly, the way the genesis of this was that i read in the "new york times" our families name and/or company, once again, and asked all of my partners what's the deal? has anybody ever met the folks at the ciw? because this is crazy. they all acknowledged that we had abdicated our responsibility in this story to the grower organizations who are representing us. and i look at everybody and i said, well, how is that working out? let's do something different about that, and they all agreed and at that stage we reached out to the cnw 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. it goes back as a mention in my sort of opening remarks to our history with slavery, , to our uneven relationship with immigration. it was really codified in the 1930s when you had some of the major labor legislation, the national labor relations at, fair labor standards act of 1935 in 1938 i think. really transformational pieces of legislation, provided protections that we now take for granted. eliminating child labor, providing for overtime, the right to unionize, the right to organize, that sort of thing.
there were two categories of laborers that were left out, farmworkers and domestic workers. if you think for a moment, you can figure why those are the two categories. in order to pass the legislation they needed the southern votes, and african-americans with the people that worked in the two categories, the ones on the farm fields, 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 don't have the same protection as other workers. there were some changes in the 1960s, particularly after extraordinary documentary, harvest of shame that was shown on thanksgiving in 1960, and a few changes again in the '70s but as a rule they have been left out of standard protections. >> grade, can you tell us about
why workers targeted taco bell and in burger king in its campaign and how did you map the campaign and how did you ultimately went. >> was because taco bell makes farmworkers for. everyone knew that at the time. as i think susan mentioned in her intro, we spent nearly a decade, and jon mentioned this as well, at loggerheads with the local rovers. we made some progress. what we want to do was just have a better life, whatever community that could solve problems that evident plaguingr years, poverty deserted pieces. that wasn't happening. we had to find, and to take the analysis a bit 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 picked it's the imbalance of power that makes it possible for someone to
exert their will over someone else and a person have no ability whatsoever to hold that person accountable. that's what existed for so long. we needed to change that. we had to find some sort of power that would allow her to take the scales and bounce them again, in a way that would essentially take those emergent properties of the imbalance and with them away. if you restrict the balance, we have two main civilized relationship with the people who would have done those things in the past, those things start happening and that's what we were seeking. eventually you beat your head long enough against the will and you realize the wall is not going away, you have to find another way to get around it. we found there was a voice that the growers had to listen to. they didn't have to listen to ours for a number of the reasons susan said but there to listen to voices of their customers. they couldn't refuse to hear the
walmarts and the mcdonald's and the other major buyers of the world. and, in fact, over the past several decades the food system had consolidated significantly at the top creating a power at the top, there was a power at the top that was essentially being used, market power to drive down prices and fat on the front side of the farm gate, lower and lower wages and worse conditions. but in effect that power is neutral. it's not necessarily negative. not necessarily, it doesn't necessarily create negative consequences for workers. it is simply never harnessed to create positive consequences for workers. we decided we would 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, informed them of the conditions in their supply chain and they would come to us and say, how can we help? we certainly don't want slavery in the supply chain, we don'tsm, what can we do to help? turns out it didn't work that way though. [laughing] we sent letter after letter, and didn't get in response. finally we decided that we had to go to the public and educate the public which it was a clever slogan about taco bell mickey farmworkers for king from. we had to explain to students across the country of particular people of faith and others. until the was enough pressure on taco bell, particularly on university campuses where students were saying, how do we know that the tomato and our children but wasn't picked by a slave? can you promise that? that was a tough question.
there was no fair food program. -- in our children -- work witd never to be able that question. that's how it started. from there taco bell after four years of campaigns signed an agreement in 2005. mcdonald's followed, burger king followed, most of the fast food chains followed except one exception which remains an exceptional exciting day, which is wendy's. >> we should boycott wendy's. >> outside information you can worry about. now there's 14 companies that support the fair food program, everything from walmart to mcdonald's and whole foods. it's their purchasing power. it's the power come in and see the color the power of the purchasing order. in fact, we are not the first, imagine this, the industry had a
problem that was an accident a problem which was salmonella, e. coli, foodborne illnesses. at some point not too long ago the retail and other food industry insisted to its suppliers to be a supplier, to be able to sell to the major buyers you had to meet food safety standards. you had to be certified for food safety standards. those didn't exist 20 or 30 years ago but they do now. by using the power of the purchasing order, even if certified you can't sell to us. they actually have made a major dent. you can't get rid of everything but it made a major dent in foodborne illness outbreaks. the exact same mechanism what we're using to stop sexual assault, slavery, wage that and all the other things that a flight farmworkers, farm labor for generations. >> i often tell people what of the cool things, if i may use
the word, about the coalition of immokalee workers is who enforces for you? who injures the growers comply with the workers' rights? it's walmart, mcdonald's, taco bell. if the growers violate workers' rights then they pulled the order instead of having the government enforcing you have the power of the purchase order, but it's a real important power. >> we should make this a very popular program. >> the walmart foundation -- seriously. so the program describes itself as a worker driven program, worker driven social responsibility. can you talk about the importance of being worker driven and when you had all these church groups and synagogues and rabbis and student groups supporting you, how did it remain worker driven
and not have these other groups running the show? >> in both instances when we are in a tour, right, greg was sharing about taco bell, from the very beginning we start to talk to people in every space that was willing to share about what we were trying to communicate, which was we are aiming to bring corporations to the table so that we can, working with them, also bring the agricultural industry to have a conversation and into all these abuses. when we were talking with all of these different audiences we make sure they understood 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. contrary to what many people and
many experts set about farmworkers, we also have what's necessary to quit what we created. for instance, the program. we make sure people understood and were actually using an equation that we created, c+ c equals c. we are not mathematicians obviously. [laughing] no scientist and we are not aiming to be but what are people that have the capacity to analyze things to share our message. in an effective way. so for us c+ c equals c is consciousness plus commitment equals a change. but the reason why that was really important to be used in immokalee with organizing with our community as well as in educating people in universities and churches is that you cannot
just jump when you hear about a mission committee people have a tendency to jump to solutions right away without consulting with the committee that is fine for the rights that are necessary in their committees so some people who tell the story they want to into the garage and bring it to the doorsteps that we talk to people and say that is nice but what we need is justice. we don't work ten, 14 hours a day every day of the year that is workable. [inaudible] still have to depend on people, goodwill, to be able to put food on the table? thanksgiving there's a lot of people that come from different communities to give free food to our people. that's a question that for us,
when talking to people we make sure that they understand we are 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 community is trying to accomplish, that that is clear from the beginning to whoever is listening, that the struggle needs to be led by workers. in the implementation side of things, with all the agreements we have, the reason why the fair food program works is because when we go to the fields, , weakened accessions of education which basically are about an hour long. we talk about all the rights
that we have under the program that the workers have, and they received a booklet like this that contains all the rights that are part of the agreements with a different growers. when that happens workers know that they are protected for the first time, that under this program there are market consequences that your mentioning that will be triggered if any company, tomato grower, refuses to do what they've agreed to do under this program. so every worker when they hear the rights and when they know that these rights are guaranteed in the workplace, then they are not going to completely us are slowly but surely when we start with the session of education, workers started to call and in cf. the work, report all kinds of uses, sexual harassment and wage theft, violence in the
fields all the things we knew existed. for the first time workers also witnessed how those abuses were fixed and surprisingly enough, people who reported them when i 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, because of those protections, because of those market consequences and because of the work that we collaborated with the industry, they become monitors of their own rights. that is the most powerful thing. that is what makes that complaint-based mechanism so effective. >> question for jon. jon and his company with a very first one to sign an accord with their coalition of immokalee
workers. i've been reading an article about this and it said that you in a rush to do this before the jewish holiday of rahm kapoor and you wanted to reach an agreement before sundown. you were the first to sign on. ask you what caused you to finally go from war to peace with the coalition of immokalee workers? you must've felt pressure from other growers, from your buyers, from some of the companies that site on to the fair food agreement that were probably pushing you to sign on. and then you probably felt pressure from your family members and from farmworkers as well. so can you speedy first of all, i mean, i don't know what i was living in a vacuum or what was going on, but the point at which my partisan i have a conversation which a reference before and the signing of our
agreement was may be two months of which the first month was our attorney speaking to each other to get a confidentiality agreement so we could even sit down and talk. my perspective on it and my relationship to it is that we had no pressure from outside from any of our competitors, because they didn't know what i was doing. i i had no pressure from customs because they did know what i was doing and i had, we really, i guess what i'm saying is 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 i told is i'm here to have a cup of coffee 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 that i i am in the lifet with, which is the farmworkers. we go on to the farm and that's our lifeboat. that's how we all feed our families, that's how all -- how we all pay our bills. and in seeing my business, our business that way, what i
realize was that, what i understood was that i had more in common with the folks who come to work with his everyday than it did with any of my competitors. they are in a competing lifeboat. this is ours, that there's, you know? >> and -- >> the yom kippur peace i mentioned i was a recovery. 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, because i was in this process,
to start the new year with this agreement. >> one historical footnote. the very first strike from the coalition of immokalee workers was in 1995 when your company cut the payment for workers. then 22 decades later your company was the first to sign. greg -- >> atonement was made, yes. [laughing] >> attention must be paid. hellas, greg, about social responsibility, how it differs from social, corporate responsibility wheels use use worker driven social responsibility being applied and what else might be expanded? you could talk about that for an hour. >> yet. and actually jon's example, i want to work in jon's example as the sort of thing that companies should be doing broadly but i'll start, worker driven and socialist what's really, ws are.
it's a paradigm for protecting human rights and corporate supply chains that grew out of the fair food program and the successful fair food program. we were in one of the harshest laboratories you could possibly choose. we had a series of change that he can harness the power of the buyers you could drive an improvement of conditions on the ground and agriculture, and that theory we tested against reality and of the florida tomato industry and the results were going anywhere expected. that was great. 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 in corporate supply chains. corporate social responsible and worker driven social responsibility share something
in common, which is they both have standards, right? in any corporation today, any 21st-century corporation, you would be hard-pressed to find incoming that doesn't have a code of conduct for its suppliers. it's expectations for its suppliers that requires them or expects them to be -- you would be equally hard-pressed to find any company that has an enforcement mechanism that israel behind so those standars and, therefore, the standards are a little more than paper. standards about enforcement for workers are not just paper. they are alive because they are telling you have rights. what if she had seen there was a corporate code of conduct in a case and saw she had rights and she stood up and went to the company and complaint? what would've would have happer 20 years ago? she might not just get fired, she might get beaten or she might get worse because there is no enforcement, no protection, no reality behind the standards.
that's 99% of corporate social responsibility that today is still that, standards without enforcement. worker driven social responsibility is social responsibility led and monitor and enforced in a partnership between workers, growers and buyers. so you need, many of the elements haven't talked about. you know, workers experience and insight of the job inform the standards, the code of conduct. you have code that are different from the ones you find in corporate drawn code. things that are specific to actually do get exploited on the particular job. that's one thing. worker to worker education so workers who are working under those rights actually know what rights they have. what good is it uprights if you don't know what they are? you can't actually come when something happens you don't know that's a violation of the rights.
third, and effective complaint mechanism that workers trust, that workers know is efficient and fast. fourth, deep dive audits. the one thing corporate socialist what's with says we have audits. those audits are one day superficial snapshots of what happens in the fields general or anywhere else, whether it be apparel factory or the few. generally auditors will go in and talk to less than 5% of the workforce and they will be gone. most times the company knows they're coming. they will tell the workers what to say and the whole thing is essentially not just a snapshot, it's a fake snapshot. in this case the audits are, the council that in our case monitors the program talks to a least the 2% of the workers and that the cement if it's a 2000
person four. they talk to 1000 a thousand ws before you leave. to get a real solid picture of what's happening out there. they get into the books and to talk to the management at talk about than management system and the work with management to make sure our systems in place they can guarantee compliance. not a gotcha program. it's not there to catch farms. it's there to help farms identify that actors and getting rid of them so they don't become actual risks for the farm before the people who are buying from their farm. .. then that has to make a decision. leave the program and the 14
companies that have signed on or get rid of the crew leader which is you in the program and that decision far more often than not have been made to get rid of the person whose been doing those things, expand the program and become a better operation so as a result, what's happened iscompanies have become better operation. companies that buy don't have to worry about public relations crises . about whatever else happens in their supply chain. workers, the last thing i wanted to say is that what john did was absolutely crucial to making it happen where we are, to breaking the resistance that has been there for a century. on the growers side in florida. but it's something that all companies, be they suppliers or buyers in this country
need to consider and need to see the kind of leadership that john, because what john did was find a way to align his values, his company's values with their business model. and when you're out of alignment, when you've got a business model that inherently drives negative outcomes, then that's where problems fester and that's where things could be fixed become major crisis. so john was talking about being on the front page of the new york times for slavery, that's what was happening at that point. don was able to do something that more and more companies need to do and take a position of leadership to do unfortunately but it's to say, to look at your business model, identify the inherent problems within your model and fix them. align them with your values
as a company. what we're asking for to say is that you can get away with not doing that last minute, it makes sense. you can get away with it because basically consumers trusted corporations a lot more than they did today and we didn't have the expectations we did of them today to help social problems like planet change or sexual-harassment or whatever it might be. today we trust corporations a lot less and yet we have much higher expectations of corporations to help us solve problems so there's this gap and growing and the only way you canbreak that down is what john did, which is to align your values with your business model and make that, become an advocate for that . a second thing john did is step up and advocate, that's the best way to do business and when you do that, consumers see you are authentic and you will thrive in this country of the information age. in the20th century, you can do whatever you want .
>> one last question, susan. you're a policy walk, a systems analyst. why do you think either businesses or the worker groups should counter off from the example of coalition market workers and what private means for future research into poverty and inequality, worker efforts . >> first of all i think this partnership is very important. this is a program that has benefited not just the workers also as greg was just touching on, the growers themselves, operations are better as they now have people in the field who are saying we can do things bettertogether . they have a much more stable workforce so if you're trying to reduce turnover, etc., having a safe place for your workers could give you a more
stable workforce so buyers at the top of the food chain, first of all what they have is a brand protection. that's their value, that's what they are worried about. they know they have a clean supply chain in a way that no other floor program has delivered. one point real quick for not just the buyers, etc. for all of us to take away is that change is possible. and change is possible if we start looking for new places for new solutions. one of the things , the world has changed. it's important we look beyond the government for solutions. if we are waiting for the government, it's not going to get done and if there's some things the government says, there's other things they don't do so well. we've never done well in the issue of laborers or workers or working conditions for a variety of different reasons. nongovernmental solutions and complex policy problems is something we need to be looking for and the coalition of immokalee workers is an extraordinary example of
that. >> one of the amazing things about what you've done without any government assistance is it's all within theprivate sector . >> maybe that's why it's worked. >> so opening the floor to questions of this lady back there. >> hi, thank you. i learned a lot. my name is doctor mindy reiser, president of a global peace services and we are interested in ways to reduce conflicts, give people opportunities to transform their lives though my question is this. in terms of farmworker workforce, are there any provisions in terms of education to move up if they wish in the chain of management with perhaps the company. learning other skills that they could go into accounting, they could go
into health policy or public health related to agriculture production. what opportunities are there for people to further their own education while staying within the agricultural sphere? >>. [inaudible] the comment that i'll make on that, i learned , i have learned so much in my relationship with gerardo, with greg, with rufus and anita. there's a whole movement right now that with fair trade and all these different types of programs that are out there where there are schools attached to it, there's stores with discounted food available, that sort of thing and one of the most important conversations that i've ever
had was with lucas benitez, we were talking about this issue and he looked right 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 gerardo was mentioning before, they don't need free things in immokalee on thanksgiving. what people need is to be treated fair work, have asafe place to work, be paid a fair wage and live their lives . and that resonated for me both as a business owner and as a human being because quite frankly, i don't want anybody telling me what resources are available to me and my kids . i don't know if that answers your question but that's what i would say thatpanel . >> yes, erin taylor.
i used to work for osha for a number of years though i know your frustration and i need to know we need to work for new solutions but particularly, i also use to teach at the labor college in new york city and so i know a little bit about the history of labor unions. they used the social justice and social improvement organizations before they became powerbrokers and they had clinics in schools and childcare centers and i'm wondering if that's a part of your vision or the c iw? >> with this age that has passed by in immokalee, there was a lot of people that in the past would have supported what we are trying to do which is change and expand the gains that we have achieved. and yes, it's a physical thing to be able to add
direct people to support what we are doing but a lot of the work is trying to support society work. >> so sorry, i made that point. >> let me say something, you hear the same from jason and i'll take it in a different direction. with this new paradigm thatwe have , there will be, there are millions of workers who are still working not just in the field but in factories and various poultry and whatever you have that are suffering the same things that we've been able to eliminate in the tiny sector of where we are and in differentprograms. we can work until we are dead . to get what we've done to those workers first. before weworry about those other things .
i often ask people to do a little product experiment. people here who like to buy a phone, fresh fruit from local farmers and i grew up around this eastern shore, if you drive out there in the summertime it's beautiful so imagine your driving and is everything you ever hopedfor. beautiful, colorful for food . you go to the cashier, the cashiers got her own thing and they're checking it out. and you're just feeling the store and you hear a scream. look over the cashiers shoulder and you seea worker being beaten , pistol whipped by the boss. and this is all in your beautiful basket of fruit, what would you do? >> when you complete the purchase? >> anybody?
most people would stop, at least run away in horror. some people would try to stop it from happening. we're the organization that tries to stop it. the thing is, that's happening everywhere. there's a hierarchy of needs in a way. you start by stopping people from getting beaten, stopping people from having their checks go, stop people from getting socially harassed. once you've done that, and you start doing those other things and there is so much work to be done in low-wage labor to get this model out, give the people the power they need to address the imbalances and work the system. in this country and across the globe that we just don't have time for. >> what i was going to say is we are trying to take these businesses that are coming into power through a relationship we have other organizations to be able to create together with them, a path to victory as they are
shared, working with people having them like, this is a good place to start in terms of the household so there's different ideas but that are being explored on that front. but yes, as greg was saying, the list is huge. and the preservatives, we need to fix what hurts the most and then eventually, we will expand in the same way that we are, expanding. >> let's make one quick comment on that. i had an opportunity to speak at ucla law school and one of the questions that came up to the panel was what new legislation do we need to see that these rights are guaranteed? and what you're hearing from the three of us up here is that this isn't about new legislation, this isn't about
a lot of different, this is about ensuring that thethings that are on the books right now like , guess what, you're not supposed to steal people's wages. sexual harassment is against the law. guess what, labor is against the law. the resources don't exist in the extensive, extended reaches of agriculture to go ahead and enforce these laws. what this program has done for me, quite frankly is give me a tool that on my 15,000 acres of farmland, i now have thousands of patrol folks. because i can sit here and say i'm about 99.9 percent sure they might be, i'm going to give myself a little wiggle room. as i go down the hierarchy of my management team, i become less and less certain. that's as it applies to management. but there's also a lot of
worker on worker harassment. that can take place so these are all things that this program has helped me as a business owner address to provide the very safe work environment that is already on the books and was supposed to be provided. >> the gentleman right under the camera. >> hello. my name is michael, one of the things that when you think about workers standards is 80 wage, decent benefits, engines and things like that. the things you don't really call immokalee workers doesn't deal into that. in the area and talk very much about and while i know, what i like the average wage of the former workers in florida as part of its fair program in the early basis. is we do talk about it very often. that's the whole reason why
the coalition started organizing was to get those wages and address working conditions. i would say in terms of wages, we were able to eliminate the coping of a bucket. you might think what the heck is a bucket. i would be asking the same question if i was you. for us as workers, that means 10 percent less in labor. and everybody that you bring to the bucket. i don't know if you would be able to see it. but this is how you use to be. this is how it is now. there were a lot of instances . >> when you buy this bucket, and according to the standard of number which is the person at the top of the throat, it would be sent back to you. if you're focused about it, it's a common. you would very likely become another victim of violence.
and it would be thrown in your face so in the process of eliminating this, we became to address this issue by eliminating the overfilling of the bucket and creating a new standard, an official standard but that is in essence 10 percent more production that for the first time we're going to be paid as one. another one is the permanent implementation of the program in 2011, what is the florida growers of change, we are working with. there's been more than 26 million donors that have been distributed to workers in the form of a bonus as food program payment. it has different names but it's clearly identifiedby workers .
and that, when you think about it, can mean $20, 40, 60 or more depending on the business interaction. corporations buying tomatoes on their program. what that means is the urgency of the public and us together, working to bring multiple corporations to the same because that amount should be matched more than that. right now we haveabout 20 percent of the market . but their standing with us on this, we need an operation to say to do the same instead of running while the workers create a solution, for that problem. the economic problem and also that problem with our imbalance of power. when we signed a solution and we are able to physically not just identify, but what's happening but happening on its track, there hasn't been a single case of slavery in any of our farms under the
program. and it continues to be a lot of issues and situations happening outside everywhere. so when we found a solution, we basically punish the dose that were supplying them for years. growers that were providing the tomatoes and how they were profiting from it and now they decided to go to mexico. when we created that solution, because the growers had a chance to participate with us. that is just wrong so we need to do that bring more corporations to do the same, to increase more of thatbonus . also, i don't know. since we started to work with the petroleum industry in florida, as an industry, the wages have gone up in what, 42, $.45 for 30+ years and in the span of six years, now it's 55 on average, the in
some companies, even $.65 so i don't know, 's are moving in the direction that they should and i would bet that it is not a coincidence area i would say it is because there is for the first time a working relationship. human to human where we are taking into account all parties involved, things that matter most which is the dignity of the workers. >> i want to ask if we do a lightning round, asked greg one question. it's been such a success, what are the chances that you might spread your wings to put industry in the midwest, southwest or to all of california? >> or the world. >> we are currently in the initial stages of talking with growers in texas about
watermelons . the program we are working with , a dairy worker organization as you well know, that we're helping establish their own dignity program and they have ben and jerry's their primary corporate corporate partner and their working with partners extending in that direction. we have inquiries from all search of different directions. workers corporations want us to expand. and we're working through those things. it will be in many more states, right now of the east coast in three crops so we want to be everywhere it can be. >> and now my so-called lightning round. if you are the members of the audiencetake one thing from this discussion , a question or congress to keep in mind,a call to action or something else , what would that be?
let's start with greg. >>. >> as i said before, change is possible. if you want to change a system, look at the system as a whole. i believe the coalition of the napoli workers has done thisand we need to look at. the new model , addressing labor issues for labor issues that benefit the buyers, corporations as well as the workers. >> john. >> i'm not going to leave you with my words, i'm going to leave you with the words of rabbi joshua has to. and in a free society, some of you will all be responsible. we all bear the responsibility to ensure that our fellow men and women are treated fairly.and in the workplace. and at home. and have safe places to go to work. so that's the challenge, that's what it means to be human, that's what it means to live in a community and be
part of society. >> new york city, 11th to the 15th we're going to be in front of the house office. march, sorry. >> i got excited. so yes, we're going to be in new york and we're extending the invitation to the country. to join us, we're going to do a fast with presence for the entire day, then send hotels is a key player within this structure. here's a precedent of three partners, they have a lot of money, talk a lot and have a lot of power but they resist the use so we are going to their headquarters to ask them to exercise their power in a responsible way.
we're going to be joining by church leaders, by universities in the country and the combination is going to be bipartisan. want to have people help us spread theword . 11th through 15 march, owing to the farmer community and we are bringing the message at this time for them to do the right thing and to help us to expand the protections against sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. and i would just expressly say that there's no change that happens because we wish it would. we need action, the action is what have to make it possible for every corporation to come on board.to use their power in a responsible way. resulting in these transformations. it's not science. and we need to spread the word and we believe in this.
we shouldn't be depending on someone else deciding to do these. we know there are many things that are wrong and can be improved in the workplace in america but particularly in our region but let's do this together. and i'm not saying this is an invitation.it's an order. i command you to do this, no. i'm not asking you to say we shouldn't be asking you because social change shouldn't depend on society in a way, on that reduction. asking people, convincing people, it should be about a basic understanding. and stick with that understanding. all the celebrations you have in that table, with family,
with friends. came from somewhere. we arethe people responsible for those moments . whether you have seen about us are not and we're asking for the same ability, to be able to do just that with our own family. we need to recognize that and send with that and follow up with it. >>. [applause] >> let's pick on what he was saying. marcus our high metrics and power flows down. and what we've discovered is that in the food market, most people assume and that the major retail brands, that's where it's at. we are the top of the ladder. . the problem is, we don't actually act in certain ways that corporations should so
we use our power and corporations out of the fast food and teach them how to improve . when we asked in a mature fashion, we can change that. we can actually tell corporations how we want food to be produced in which case they have the first step always down to the forms and it's truly a level like changes for those who produce that food so if we act together, we can change not just the food system, not just the food markets but all the markets on the planet. clothing, all the things that we buy that we know positions are not right behind. >> thank you all so much. please join me in thanking our fabulous panel. [applause] >> susan is going to be signing books please join us for that and also please come back.
on february 21 we will be having opportunities to follow these face the future of the american dream so come back for that and thanksagain to this fabulous panel area for an inspirational , thank you. [applause] >> i can only see it from her perspective. >> i have a lot of people pray for me similarly and as a christian, i believe that christianity has a very long tradition of divine viewing so i certainly don't think that it's not possible for god to heal people. >> tonight on q&a, divinity school professor and prosperity gospel scholar kate fuller discusses her memoir, everything happens for a reason and other lies i've loved. in which she reflects on
being diagnosed with stage iv colon cancer at the age of 35. >> there's no pain in your stomach, right? okay. well then that's real. >> you can see how quickly he moved from praying for her. and then his confidence in himself as that vehicle. and then the idea that because she didn't have pain in that moment that she's definitely heal and his very dramatic approach to safe healing is one that i often found to be somewhat manipulative. >> tonight at 8 pm eastern on q&a. >> you're watching tv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup. andrew keen equates technological change with political and economic unrest and shares his thoughts on how to preserve humanity. seven, bloomberg technology emily chang described the culture in silicon valley for women. more injections shares her
thoughts on race and gender 10 pm eastern. the keys afterwards nine, tar westover details are like growing up with survivalist parents in the idaho mountains and her introduction to formal education at age 17. and we wrap up our primetime programming can with the 10 american literary awards that recognize books in a range of categories from biography and science writing to essays and poetry. that all happens tonight on tv, television for serious readers. >>. [inaudible] no, we're not telling that one. well, definitely those that are here this afternoon, welcome and thank you for not only supporting an afternoon event which is not very common, but for supporting your local independent bookstore. i'll be your host as always, you are welcome