Protesters gathered in front of the new Trader Joe’s in Chelsea on Thursday to call attention to the plight of farm workers.
They said shoppers should know about the ongoing human rights abuses against farm workers, who they say pick tomatoes sold at the company’s stores. The group claims workers are paid an average of 40 to 50 cents per 32-pound bucket of tomatoes harvested, and their wages have not risen since 1978.
"We want Trader Joe’s to step up to the plate just like every other major corporation that we’ve addressed already, like Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Burger King," said Luis Fernando Gomez of the Community Farm Worker Alliance. "And we want them to address it and be like, we want solve the issues of human rights, of slavery and all of the abuses that go on in our fields. But they have to initiate that step or else that step is never going to happen."
In a statement, Trader Joe’s says, "We work with reputable suppliers that have a strong record of providing safe and healthy environments, and we will continue to make certain that our vendors are meeting, if not exceeding government standards."