SLAVERY STILL ALIVE IN FLORIDA

Posted on December 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Between December and May, Florida produces virtually the entire US crop of field-grown fresh tomatoes. Fruit picked here in the winter months ends up on the shelves of supermarkets and is also served in the country’s top restaurants and in tens of thousands of fast-food outlets.

Fruit-pickers, who typically earn about $200 a week, are part of an unregulated system designed to keep food prices low and the plates of America’s overweight families piled high. The migrants, largely Hispanic and with many of them from Mexico, are the last wretched link in a long chain of exploitation and abuse. They are paid 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes collected. A worker has to pick nearly two-and-a-half tons of tomatoes – a near impossibility – in order to reach minimum wage. . .

Florida has a long history of exploiting migrant workers. Farm laborers have no protection under US law and can be fired at will. Conditions have barely changed since 1960 when the journalist Edward R Murrow shocked Americans with Harvest Of Shame, a television broadcast about the bleak and underpaid lives of the workers who put food on their tables. “We used to own our slaves but now we just rent them,” Murrow said, in a phrase that still resonates in Immokalee today. (read more VIAINDEPENDENT, UK )

 
Link from http://prorev.com
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