Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program.
The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.
The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages.
It also binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure, which workers can use without fear of retaliation.
The program also provides for independent third-party audits to ensure compliance.
“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all—workers, growers, and Chipotle—can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” says Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners—every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants—in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”
Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle, says, “Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation's food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use— sources that produce food in ways that demonstrate respect for the land, farm animals, and the people involved. We believe that this agreement underscores our longstanding commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”
Chipotle becomes the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is designed to create a sustainable tomato industry through respect for the rights and concerns of all involved.
The Fair Food Premium paid by participating buyers like Chipotle is used to help participating growers improve wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers.