From Interfaith Action of SW Florida
After a long journey by bicycle from Immokalee, FL to Lakeland, FL, Publix grocery chain’s CEO Ed Crenshaw refused to even meet with the farmworkers who had traveled 200 miles to personally invite him to visit Immokalee. Instead, an unnamed Publix PR representative was sent to coldly reject their invitation. (See a photo report from the day here.)
A reporter from Tampa’s WMNF radio station captured an exchange between Oscar Otzoy, one of the farmworkers who had bicycled from Immokalee, and Publix’s PR representative in an incredible 3-minute report. (Click here to listen.) As Rev. Kent Siladi, Florida Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ, told the Lakeland Ledger, “We can’t understand why he’s being so hard-hearted about a conversation.”
Instead of engaging in dialogue, Publix’s PR Department continues to distort the nature of the Fair Food program. As Oscar from the CIW explained, “They argue the Fair Food initiative needs to put the penny in the price, when that’s exactly how the program already works; they suggest the CIW wants Publix to pay workers directly, when that’s not what we are asking. Publix would simply pay a penny-per-pound premium — much like Publix-brand fair trade coffee — that tomato growers would distribute to their employees in their normal paychecks.”
Publix’s guarantee to customers is that “We will never knowingly disappoint you.” If you are disappointed by Publix’s refusal to even learn about the Fair Food Program, please call and let them know. Let Mr. Crenshaw that you are tired of misleading PR statements and hope that he will do the right thing. Call today:
Office of Mr. Crenshaw: 863-688-1188, ext. 52347
Consumer Relations: 1-800-242-1227
While Publix tries to evade responsibility, the support from consumers is only growing! Following Mr. Crenshaw’s refusal, dozens of Florida religious leaders joined the CIW outside of Publix for a powerful vigil. The Rev. Eve MacMaster from Gainesville read a letter to Publix signed by 31 Gainesville clergy asking Publix to work with the CIW. The Catholic Diocese of Venice ran an Op/Ed in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune encouraging Publix to do the right thing. Charlotte County congregations are collecting thousands of dollars of Publix receipts from customers who want Publix to work with the CIW. See the full report from the day here and the Lakeland Ledger’s fantastic photo gallery here.
Let your voice be heard as well! Call Publix today and let us know how it goes.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who helped to make the “Pilgrimage to Publix” possible! The support along the route and from throughout the state was incredible and we are very grateful for your support.
Interfaith Action of SW Florida
239 986 0688 — www.InterfaithAct.org
People of faith partnering with farmworkers to cultivate justice in the fields