Just came across a pretty cool article about Aramark’s decision to pay a little extra for tomatoes grown in Florida in order to increase profits for the harvesters. In an attempt at non-partisanship, I’ll post the link and let you decide if it changes the way you look at our dining services provider.

“Food giant Aramark agrees to pay increase for tomato farmworkers”

And in an attempt at honesty, I’ll highlight a few dismal facts discussed in the article that reveal the agreement to be meager attempt at fair labor practices.

“Aramark also will pay a 1.5-cent premium for every pound of tomatoes picked, with the extra money going directly to harvesters, who will now earn 82 cents for each 32-pound bucket they pick, up from 50 cents per bucket.”

Just those numbers themselves are staggering. Aramark is giving up a mere 1.5 cents for every pound of tomatoes. This may add up quickly for a business as large as Aramark, but to an independent harvester this means very little. The article goes on to list the average income of a harvester as up to $17,000 annually (up from $10,000).

“Aramark, which did not respond to requests for comment, joins Compass […] Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway […] Whole Foods Markets, to become the next global corporation to join the Campaign for Fair Food.”

It’s great that Aramark has decided to team up with the Campaign for Fair Food (launched by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers) as a domestic effort to improve conditions and empower individual farmworkers in Florida, but it says nothing for the avocados imported from California or–even less so–the mangoes from Mexico, both of which are sold in the C-store.

Toward the end, it discussed an example involving a Florida university that’s relevant to Brandeis. It’s a pretty short article, so I suggest skimming it, at least!

4 comments on “Aramark making baby steps”

  1. Art Says:

    Knowing Aramark, the meal plan prices just doubled.

  2. Bret Matthew Says:

    I wrote about this decision back in April (http://thebrandeishoot.com/articles/7763), having come across the same article. Baby steps is a pretty accurate description. For them to move further by, say, paying higher premiums for those avocados, they need consumer and worker pressure. Lots of it. That means us, among others.

  3. Liat Says:

    bret, i’m sorry! after posting the article i received a ton of e-mails alerting me that you wrote about this in the hoot. thanks for the link!

  4. Bret Matthew Says:

    Don’t worry about it. I’m glad the word is being spread/