IMMOLAKEE, Fla. - Cruz Salucio will be protesting outside the new Publix on 41 and Del Prado on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
The 28-year old farmworker, along with other members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, has repeatedly asked the retailer to support the Fair Food Program, an initiative they say has created positive changes in the fields.
"Until the Fair Food Program took root a season before last, it was the standard across the industry for crew leaders to demand that farm workers overfill their buckets. That's been something that's been eliminated," Salucio said.
They're asking the supermarket chain to join other buyers like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and most recently Chipotle, to increase their pay by a penny per pound.
According to the CIW, farmworkers earn 50 cents for every 32-pounds of tomatoes they pick. Most farmworkers today earn less than $12,000 a year.
"We could say that the extra penny is a type of economic relief for farm workers who have for a long time not made what they deserve," said Cruz.
The coalition has also implemented a code of conduct for buyers who become partners with the Fair Food Program. Guadalupe Gonzalo, a farm worker and mother, says the booklet helps women understand their rights and protects them from sexual harrassment .
"I have been working in agriculture for many years and have seen how these crew leaders talk to women while they're in the fields," Gonzalo said.
The hope is, these changes will help future generations of farm workers. "With each victory it brings more and more happiness to our community," said Cruz.
Wink News did contact Publix. They did not comment on this story, but have told us in the past, "It's the responsibility of their suppliers to monitor working conditions and manage their workforce."