Second Saturday Movies
There are many excellent documentaries available for not a lot of money. Let’s get together and watch them on the second Saturday of the month.
MAY Second show of the New Second Saturday Movie series.
In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.
There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.
Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.
The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.
Food Chains premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and screened subsequently at the Tribeca Film Festival and Guadalajara Film Festival. Food Chains will be released nationwide November 21st. The film’s Executive Producers include Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser.
The history of exploitation in farm work in the United States dates back to slavery.
While groups like the UFW achieved historic successes for farmworker justice, farm labor today remains one of the most difficult and most underpaid jobs in America.
Farmworkers are generally paid by the piece rather than strictly by the hour, a system that is a direct legacy of slavery. Forced to work at a brutal pace in order to earn the equivalent of minimum wage, farmworkers live well below the poverty line. An average farmworker earns about $12,000 a year providing the goods that enable large retailers to make billions in annual profits.
While the situation for women in any workplace is far from ideal – one in four American women experience sexual harassment in the office – female farmworkers face an endless barrage of abuse. It is estimated that 80% of farmworker females experience sexual harassment in the fields.
In the most extreme cases, farmworkers have been held in debt bondage or modern-day slavery. These are not rare occurrences, but rather, a by-product of an agricultural system that relies on the desperately poor. When one is living in poverty, the loss of a job can have brutal effects. It is this poverty that can place farmworkers in unpredictable situations – ones that can lead to modern-day slavery.
The Fair Food Program
The primary subject of Food Chains, a grassroots labor organization called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), has developed a remarkable program to end poverty and exploitation in the tomato fields of Florida. The Fair Food Program asks large retailers like supermarkets and fast food restaurants to pay just a penny more per pound of tomatoes and to refuse to buy tomatoes from farms with human rights violations.
To date, twelve major retailers have signed on including Walmart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, McDonalds, the YUM Brands, Chipotle, Burger King, Aramark, Compass Group, Bon Appetit, Sodexo, and Subway.
The Fair Food Program has been called “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in a Washington Post op-ed, “the best workplace monitoring program” in the U.S. in the New York Times, and a “smart mix of tools” that “could serve as a model elsewhere in the world” by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
There are a number of retailers who have resisted signing this landmark agreement including Publix, Kroger, Safeway, and Wendy’s. Their forceful stand against the dignity and rights of workers is shameful.
MUUF has been a supporter of CIW for years. 83 minutes. For more information on MUUF activity with CIW and Fair Food Program, look at book report on “I’m not a Tractor” about the history of CIW with notes on MUUF relationship. The book report, done for the Book Discussion Group in May 2018, can be seen in the April Newsletter Update.
Contact Sally Isham if you have a film you feel would educate us and broaden our thinking on diverse subjects
NEW in April
p style=”color: #000000; font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;”>To kick off the idea and look forward to others stepping forward with their own films to share–environmental, social justice, etc. As a tribute to the recent conclusion of MUUF’s Welcoming Congregation Program, on Saturday, April 14 at 1PM we will show “Gender Revolution” which explores the complexities of gender in everyday life, from the moment we are born through our twilight years. To better understand this complex social and scientific issue, Katie Couric crisscrossed the U.S. to talk with scientists, psychologists, activists, authors and families to learn more about the role of genetics, brain chemistry and modern culture on gender fluidity. Join us!