Inaugural Report of Fair Food Standards Council
The inaugural report of the Fair Food Standards Council, which monitors the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program. In the two years the Council has operated as the monitor
- Workers have brought forth 304 complaints;
- Council auditors have conducted nearly 60 comprehensive audits, visited 45 farm locations, and interviewed 4,000 workers to assess participating growers’ compliance with the Code of Conduct;
- The CIW has conducted 161 worker-to-worker education sessions, attended by well over 14,000 workers; and Participating Buyers have paid more than $11 million in Fair Food Premiums to improve workers’ wages.
The Fair Food Standards Council is an idigenuous, dedicated and neutral monitor of the Fair Food Prorgram. The monitoring requires relentless vigilance against exploitation, abuse, and humiliation in the workplace, and the report demonstrates that workplace accountability is a gradual, incremental process marked and measured by countless small victories. It is achieved, in this case, by building an unbroken process of worker education, complaints, complaint investigations and resolutions, audits, corrective actions, and more audits that creates such a seamless environment of monitoring and enforcement that those who would humiliate or exploit their workers view the chance of getting caught as too certain, and the cost of getting caught too high.
This relentless groundwork then leads to a true multi-stakeholder initiative, one in which willing buyers, growers and workers have equal voices, and claims of progress are verifiable. Only then is the ideal of voluntary compliance even possible, and even then still at the cost of constant vigilance.
This is 21st century social responsibility — real, measurable, comprehensive, and driven by the people whose rights are at risk, not by those whose brands are in jeopardy.