Resolution in Support of Food Justice

Posted on: Monday May 21, 2012

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has, over many decades, adopted resolutions in support of better working conditions and poverty relief, going back to a resolution in support of the California Grape Boycott (1987);

Whereas agricultural workers, who are exempt from many federal and state labor and minimum wage laws, endure long hours, low pay, hot weather, and other dangerous working conditions including slavery and trafficking, to put food on America's plates;

Whereas the Conservative Movement has been a leader on worker justice, through its support for Magen Tzedek—a catalyst for a sea-change on the issue of food justice, embodying standards with respect to workers’ dignity, workplace safety, environmental stewardship and animal rights—and through a 2008 teshuvah passed by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards that supports a living wage, dignified workplaces, and the right of workers to organize;

Whereas the Campaign for Fair Food is a domestic farm worker and consumer-driven campaign initiated by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve conditions for agricultural workers by asking corporate purchasers to increase wages by paying a price premium on Florida tomatoes, and to sign a human-rights-based Code of Conduct that includes zero tolerance for trafficking or slavery, zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and safety precautions to protect workers from dangerous pesticides; and

Whereas ten major corporations, including national grocery store chains (e.g. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market), have signed Fair Food Agreements.

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly encourage their communities to purchase products with a Magen Tzedek seal when they become available and/or products from providers that are committed to principles of food justice; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to contact major food retailers and corporate food purchases to ensure their suppliers address the wages and working conditions of agricultural workers within the United States and encourage them to provide incentives to those who support their workers’ rights.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, May, 2012