Iowa Public Television


McDonald's Asked To Help Boost Pay For Pickers

posted on November 25, 2005

Can higher tomato prices mean higher wages for the tomato picker? A farmworkers' advocacy group is asking fast-food giant McDonald's to pay more for the tomatoes used on their premium burgers so Florida pickers can be paid more.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is trying to muster public and corporate support to boost wages for more than 3,000 Florida pickers, whom growers say provide about 90 percent of the nation's domestic fresh winter tomatoes.

A McDonald's spokesperson said the restaurant chain recently agreed to support a new tomato industry code of conduct, which is part of a program that assures accurate wages and workplace safety for farmworkers.

Most tomato pickers receive roughly the same wage they did in 1978  between 40 and 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes picked.

Tags: agriculture food jobs money news tomatoes