Policy Expert: Walmart has ‘immense power’ over food system
by The Fault Lines Digital Team, Aljazeera America
June 18, 2015
In mid-March, hundreds of workers who pick produce in the Mexican state of Baja California left the fields and took to the streets. The demonstrations blocked the main highway connecting the region to the U.S. In response, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
The workers were fed up with being paid stagnant wages that were not nearly enough for them to get by on. The growers who run the farms offered them a nominal raise to get them back to work. And the federal government pledged to find a way to get the workers’ wages up to 200 pesos per day—though ultimately was unable to.
The produce pickers do make more than than Mexico’s minimum wage, but by all accounts it’s not liveable—which, according to Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (also known as Food First), is the result of a capitalist food system in operation throughout much of the world. It keeps growers’ margins low and means that the farm workers are squeezed to keep growing operations afloat. Continue full article.