U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Support Human Rights for Farmworkers

(St. Louis, MO):  On June 16, 2016, the Leadership Council of the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, representing 7500 sisters, associates, and agrégées in the United States, affirmed the following statement in support of human rights for farmworkers:

We, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, compelled by the Gospel and by our heritage to be responsive to the “dear neighbor” without distinction, call corporations and businesses with farmworkers in their supply chains  to ensure workers are treated justly. Drawing on our Sacred Scriptures that proclaim that each person is created in the image of God and therefore deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, we believe that all farmworkers should be:

  • Paid a living wage that allows them to meet the basic needs of their families
  • Provided with healthcare benefits for them and their families
  • Employed by companies that abide by all applicable laws – including overtime payment and fair working conditions
  • Able to freely join a collective bargaining unit without harassment, intimidation, or retaliation as stated by the law

Sisters of St. Joseph from around the globe gather every five years at a U.S. Federation Event to explore how Sisters of St. Joseph may continue to be and act as one. On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, during their upcoming Event, in Orlando, FL, participants will focus on awareness and advocacy of labor trafficking and the exploitation of farmworkers. This initiative will conclude with a call to action urging the Wendy’s restaurant chain to join the Fair Food Program launched by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers [CIW] in 2011. They will urge Wendy’s to stop contributing to slavery and protect the fundamental rights of the people who work so hard to put food on our tables.

Catholic teaching states, “When workers come from another country or district and contribute to the economic advancement of a nation or region by their labor, all discrimination as regards wages and working conditions must be carefully avoided.”

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers [CIW] has worked with growers and corporations to build the Fair Food Program that ensures farmworkers will labor in safety and with respect, enables growers to be as proud of their working conditions as their products, and allows buyers to assure their customers that the produce they purchase has been fairly brought to their shelves. This collaboration echoes Catholic Social Teaching which emphasizes that every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family.

The CIW has successfully bargained with corporations to protect workers by signing on to the Fair Food Program.  Participating corporations include Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, Chipotle, Whole Foods, Sodexho, Aramark, Compass Group, Walmart, the Florida Tomato Growers Association and more.

Despite the success of the CIW and Fair Food Program, many companies do not participate and continue the cycle of unjust treatment of agricultural workers.  Wendy’s and most of the supermarket industry (only Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods participate today) have yet to join the Fair Food Program.

As members of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, we continue to call corporations and businesses with farmworkers in their supply chains to ensure workers are treated justly that together we can make a difference: one choice at a time, one voice at a time, and in prayer all the time.

To download the full version of the statement click on title below”

U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Support Human Rights for Farmworkers 

 http://www.cssjfed.org/images/2016_Federation_Statement_Farmworkers_Human_Rights_2_1.pdf

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U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph – 6400 Minnesota Ave – St. Louis, Missouri 63111‐2807 Phone: (314)925‐7662 www.cssjfed.org

Event Communications Contact: Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston                                                           617.746.2110 or Joanne.gallagher@csjboston.org