Slave Grown Tomatoes - Happy New Year From Immokalee

If you buy your tomatoes at a major supermarket or eat at McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell or Subway, then you may well be biting into the blood-and-sweat product of forced- labor-induced plantation agriculture, a.k.a. slavery, from the fields of Immokalee, where crack-cocaine meets whips and chains.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based worker organization, fights for the rights of Florida's low wage workers, and one of its members penned an open New Year's message to America. You can read the full letter in English or Spanish here, but check out this excerpt to get an idea of what's going on:

"This past December 19th, 2008, the most recent slavery case was closed in federal court, in which workers were beaten and chained inside trucks at night so that they couldn't escape. Enslaved, the food they produced was distributed by restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country. And there can be no doubt that at this very moment, in some field in this state of Florida, there are compañeros  being forced to work against their will who produced the food consumed today in New Years celebrations by families across this nation."

[Image via www.ciw-online.org]

-- Jacob Katel

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