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Compass Group to Pay More for Florida Tomatoes, Support Workers' Rights

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 25)—Compass Group North America is the latest among major foodservice companies to sign a partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in support of improve working conditions for agricultural workers who harvest Florida tomatoes. As part of the agreement, Compass Group will pay an additional 1.5 cents per pound for all the tomatoes they purchase annually, with one cent per pound being passed from the supplier directly to the harvesters.

In part, the agreed-upon 'code of conduct' will ensure:

  • Workers will receive an immediate raise based on the penny-per-pound, with the ultimate goal of a guaranteed minimum fair wage;
  • Workers will be paid for every hour worked, with a system of clocking in/out to accurately record working hours;
  • Workers will have the ability to voice their concerns over safety and working conditions, and report Code violations, without fear of retribution;
  • Suppliers will allow education of workers as to their rights on company time and within the worksite by the CIW;
  • Suppliers will permit third-party auditing for full transparency.

Compass Group will only purchase tomatoes from those growers and suppliers willing to meet the standards set out in the code of conduct and pass the raise on to their workers.

In addition, Compass will assist the CIW with initiating a conversation with growers to resolve the ongoing issues with the working conditions on the tomato farms. "Once we learned about the situation in Immokalee, we couldn't stand by idly. Working with our purchasing department, we expect this code of conduct will improve the working conditions and create change within the industry," explained Cheryl Queen, vice president of corporate communications at Compass Group North America.

Compass Group manages over 10,000 accounts in the United States – from schools to corporate offices, from hospitals to cultural centers. Compass' agreement and the supplier code of conduct will apply to all its operating companies, including Eurest Dining Services, Restaurant Associates, FLIK International, Canteen Vending Services, Chartwells, Levy Restaurants, Morrison Management Specialists and Wolfgang Puck Catering. Compass Group is the parent company of Bon Appétit Management Company, who also signed an agreement with the CIW in April 2009.

Burger King Corp., Chipotle and Subway also recently signed agreements with CWI.

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