April 1, 2010

Foodservice giant Aramark signs Fair Food agreement with CIW!

Student, youth organizing critical in achieving yet another milestone in the Campaign for Fair Food, which now surges forward with all eyes on Sodexo and Publix!

Responding to an escalating campaign waged by students on campuses across the country, Aramark has agreed to work with the CIW to directly improve farmworker wages and working conditions. The agreement — establishing a supplier code of conduct developed and implemented with farmworker participation — comes in the wake of several successful campus campaigns resulting in Student Senate resolutions calling on Aramark to work with the CIW.

Significantly, the agreement comes almost exactly a year to the day since the launch of the Dine with Dignity campaign, five years after the Taco Bell Boycott victory, and just two weeks out from the Farmworker Freedom March on Publix headquarters.

The Dine with Dignity campaign has also helped to usher in groundbreaking agreements between the CIW and Bon Appetit Management Company and Compass Group. With the Aramark agreement, Sodexo now stands isolated as the only major food service provider to not yet join this rising tide of social responsibility.

In Austin, students campaigned for over a year to pressure Aramark to sign this agreement. “From publishing op-eds in the Daily Texan to meeting with administrators, students in Austin let Aramark know that their customers on campus were demanding concrete improvements in the lives of Florida farmworkers,” said Kandace Vallejo, a UT graduate student and member of Fair Food Austin. "Now its time for UT's other foodservice provider, Sodexo, to follow the path blazed by Aramark, Bon Appetit, and Compass Group."

“Victory by victory, we're carving out a new world of fair wages, human rights, and dignity from the shameful history of exploitation in Florida's fields. Now that Aramark has come around, Sodexo doesn't have a leg to stand on. If corporations like Sodexo and Publix are to truly embrace social responsibility and guarantee to consumers that the food on our tables is not the product of human rights abuse, they must step up and follow Aramark and several other industry leaders in agreeing to work with the CIW,” said Meghan Cohorst, Student/Farmworker Alliance.

And it's not too late to make plans to join us in Florida for the three-day Farmworker Freedom March from April 16-18. Contact us today to reserve one of the last available seats in the Fair Food Austin caravan!