Esformes said he thinks industry competitors will respect Pacific’s decision.
He said Pacific plans to remain an exchange member and said he hopes it may encourage other tomato packers to sit down at the table with the CIW.
In a news release, CIW spokesman Lucas Benitez said the agreement represents a major step forward in CIW's fight for labor reforms in Florida's tomato industry.
“Not only is it the first formal agreement between CIW and a major tomato grower, but the new accord establishes several practical systems designed to implement cooperatively the key principles of the Code of Conduct at the heart of the Campaign for Fair Food,” he said. “Those principles include a joint — and, when need be, external — complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program, and a worker-to-worker education process aimed at insuring that farmworkers themselves are active participants in the social responsibility efforts.
Additionally, the deal includes third party auditing of the conduct code and complaint resolution system and payment of the penny-per-pound increase in wages.
Pacific Tomato Growers is part of the Sunripe-branded companies that pack and distribute tomatoes from Florida, Virginia, California and Mexico.
(Note on correction: The original article mischaracterized Pacific Tomato Growers’ agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Pacific Tomato is calling on the industry to only improve working conditions.)