There has been much attention given lately to those individuals who are employed by the agricultural industry to pick tomatoes and other produce in Florida. These workers have been a focus because there has been much scrutiny over the treatment of the workers and their employee rights. Luckily, changes seem to be taking effect.
These changes could be considered the efforts of many workers who took a stand to change the way their work environment was handled. Many workers had reported incidents of abuse, unpaid wages and other mistreatment while they conducted their duties. Because a number of workers fought for better wages and better supervision against mistreatment, the conditions for field workers are improving.
Growers are more likely to comply with these new standards because workers enlisted the help of large chain retailers. Companies will pay an extra penny per pound of produce to growers who adhere to the Fair Food Program. These efforts have brought about pay increases for approximately 30,000 field workers in Florida and made for stricter standards in the prevention of abuse. Unfortunately, there are still significant numbers of farm workers who are facing detrimental circumstances.
As this situation shows, taking action against the violation of employee rights can bring about significant change. Though changes can take considerable time and effort, the end result can be increasingly positive. Some Florida field workers are now seeing improvement in their work environments, and other individuals who face hostile work conditions may desire to assess their situations and take action themselves to better their circumstances.
Source: The New York Times, "In Florida Tomato Fields, a Penny Buys Progress", Steven Greenhouse, April 24, 2014