Tomato pickers march along U.S. 41 demanding fair wages - WFLA News Channel 8

Tomato pickers march along U.S. 41 demanding fair wages

Posted: Updated:
Tomato pickers march along U.S. 41 in Sarasota today, demanding fair wages. Tomato pickers march along U.S. 41 in Sarasota today, demanding fair wages.
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

A large group of Florida tomato pickers and activists marched north along Tamiami Trail in Sarasota to raise awareness for fair wages.  Over the next week, you may see the group as you're driving along the roadways.

They're on a 200 mile march from Fort Myers to Lakeland, and are walking in the middle of a highway to get their message across.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a group of Florida tomato pickers and activists. They're raising awareness for the Fair Food program.  The program is a partnership between tomato pickers and big corporations, ensuring fair wages and good treatment of the laborers.

These workers are making noise, pushing for better wages, but their biggest opponent is a local supermarket giant.

Publix is not a member of this program, and for these workers, that's a problem. So they're marching 200 miles, from Fort Myers to Publix headquarters in Lakeland in hopes that the company will listen.

Publix says it stands for fair rights for tomato pickers, but it doesn't want to get involved in what it calls a "labor dispute."

The grocery giant said in a statement, "We believe all parties would be better served if appropriate wages were paid by growers to their workers, and we were charged accordingly."

Oscar Otzoy is a tomato picker.  He says,"We're marching so Publix can join the program and improve conditions and improve pay."

Otzoy says historically tomato pickers have been victims of low wages and sexual harassment. He believes under this program, an extra penny per pound of tomatoes will ensure fair treatment.  He also says, "This is an opportunity for Publix to be part of the solution that will serve as a model to other supermarkets around the country."

These workers believe Publix can take a stand for them, so they're making noise all the way to their doorstep, hoping the company will listen.

The workers will be passing through Tampa on Wednesday, and they plan to arrive in Lakeland on Sunday, March 17th.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:49:45 GMT
    Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota. Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
  • Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:00:01 GMT
    The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:19:12 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • 8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:07:49 GMT
    Wikimedia Commons photo by Eja2kWikimedia Commons photo by Eja2k
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
  • Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:56 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:56:28 GMT
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.