TAMPA — Almost 1,000 members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its supporters marched and protested through the streets of downtown Tampa on Saturday and were united by one goal: getting Publix Super Markets, Inc. to “do the right thing.”
“We want Publix to sign a fair food agreement to work with us to improve [farmworker] wages and working conditions,” said Lucas Benitez, a Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) staff member and leader, in Spanish.
After starting their marches around 10 a.m. at three different downtown Tampa Publix locations, the protesters converged around 2 p.m. at a fourth Publix located at 1313 S. Dale Mabry Highway to hold a rally and put on a pageant depicting farmworker injustice. The pageant included colorful paintings depicting farmworker hardships such as abuse, poverty, slavery and sexual harassment. In addition, the pageant actors carried field worker buckets and pretended to fill them with imaginary tomatoes.