Please help us crowdsource vital information from your supermarket shelves that will directly support Latin American farmworkers.
We’ve just returned from Honduras where we joined COLSIBA for their 20th anniversarycelebration. COLSIBA is the largest agricultural workers union in Latin-America, and the event was a time to reflect on organizing lessons learned and to plan next steps in the movement to achieve dignity for farmworkers across Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru. The conference brought together unions that represent workers in banana, pineapple, sugarcane, and flower plantations; company representatives from Chiquita, Del Monte, and Dole; and unions and activist groups from Europe and the US.
The events kicked off with a day-long women’s gathering intended to strengthen the voices and leadership of women within unions as well as to develop plans to advocate for concrete changes for women farmworkers such as the eradication of discriminatory hiring practices, an end to anti-union temporary contracts that put downward pressure on wages, compliance with paid maternity leave, and an end to sexual harassment on the job.
During the trip we visited a unionized plantation that produces bananas for Chiquita and learned about the differences that the reduction of toxic pesticides, the use of protective gear, and permanent contracts can make for workers. Still, the wages are not much above the norm, as a result of the low prices that supermarkets pay to Chiquita and the even lower prices that Chiquita in turn pays to the plantation owner.
As we congratulate COLSIBA on their 20 years of achievements, we want to start mapping where the bananas sold in US supermarkets come from. But instead of visiting hundreds of grocery stores around the country ourselves, we figured we could crowdsource this information. And this is where we need your help. Next time you go to a grocery store near you – whether it’s Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Whole Foods or any other major supermarket chain – could you check the bananas and make a note about what the labels say? Then fill out this form once you get back online.
Thanks in advance for being part of this crowdsourcing effort!
Liana Foxvog & Eric Gottwald