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Florida farm workers fight for employee rights

All employees are entitled to certain rights. When those rights are infringed upon or ignored, the safety and well-being of workers can be put at risk. Employers can violate employee rights in several ways from withholding wages to unsafe working conditions. Farm workers in Florida are currently taking action to acquire better working conditions.

Florida farms are where a large number of fast food chains get their tomatoes. A number of those chains have signed on to the Fair Food Program, which helps to ensure better treatment of those workers employed on farms that fast food chains purchase from. There are some companies, such as popular burger chain Wendy's, that have not yet signed on to this program. Workers are protesting that lack of signing only contributes to low labor standards.

Working conditions have become so detrimental for some employees that several cases of slavery encompassing almost 1,000 Florida farm workers have been brought before the Justice Department since 1997. Female employees are at a high risk of sexual harassment and assault while working, and many workers are subject to low wages or unpaid wages. The Fair Food Program would make for better conditions and help to ensure that employers follow higher labor standards.

When employee rights are ignored, taking action may be necessary. As with these Florida farm workers, understanding that workers deserve fair treatment and having the knowledge of how to defend their rights can lead to better working conditions, wages and overall peace of mind. All employees are entitled to their earned wages and safe working conditions, and it is of the utmost importance that those aspects of employment are upheld.

Source: The Latin Times, "Wendy's Fair Food Program Protest Pushes For Better Working Conditions, Wages For Farm Workers," Megan Taros, May 21, 2013

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