Letter writer: Publix should support Fair Food Program

I first discovered Publix grocery stores while visiting Florida for Thanksgiving with my family. I always found the customer service to be outstanding, and the variety and cost of food quite good.

Imagine my dismay when my sister (who has a background training day care providers working with migrant farm workers) told me over Thanksgiving break that Publix refuses to pay an extra penny per pound to provide a bonus for Florida migrant farm workers.

In speaking with the [Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce], I am aware that Publix was given incentives to come to our town. The chamber representative I spoke with was unaware of Publix’s resistance to  the “Fair Food Program.” As a current chamber member, I know the chamber typically does a good job of attracting businesses with values that are compatible with community members.

Is it too late to hold Publix accountable? I would encourage community members to boycott Publix until such time as they join other grocery chains in supporting the “Fair Food Program” as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and most recently, Fresh Market, have done. To see the full list of restaurants and grocery chains and learn more you may go to: fairfoodprogram.org.

— Ian Rudick

Editor’s note: When contacted by Xpress, Publix Media and Community Relations Manager Kim Reynolds offered the following response:

We have always believed our food should be brought to market in a fair and sustainable way, and that farmworkers should receive fair wages and be treated with dignity and respect.

The CIW’s Fair Food campaign makes it sound like Publix is unwilling to pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes, which is not true. We have publicly and repeatedly offered to pay the extra penny per pound and more. To give workers better wages, we will gladly pay more for tomatoes if our suppliers will put that penny in the price they charge to us.

However, it is not appropriate for Publix to pay another company’s workers directly. At its core, this is a labor dispute. It is the Department of Labor’s role to enforce the laws that protect workers’ rights. If your readers would like to learn more about this they can go to http://corporate.publix.com/about-publix/newsroom/put-it-in-the-price. They can also learn more about our commitment to sustainability at http://sustainability.publix.com/get_into_a_green_routine/get_into_a_green_routine.php.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.