Two months after the results of a Los Angeles Times investigation of the treatment of farmworkers in Mexico were published, that nation’s government has announced that it will take action. The series of articles – Product of Mexico – detailed widespread abuses of farm laborers in a number of areas, including working conditions and housing.
“Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, Enrique Martinez y Martinez, announced the creation Thursday of a “historic” alliance of produce industry groups that will focus on enforcing wage laws and improving housing, schools and healthcare for the more than 1 million laborers at export farms.
The group represents growers and distributors that handle 90% of Mexico’s produce exports to the United States, which have tripled over the last decade and now exceed $7.5 billion a year.”
Wal-Mart is part of the new effort, called the “International Produce Alliance to Promote a Socially Responsible Industry.” The company also took separate action to address the abuses in its supply chain, saying “it would send a team of senior leaders to attend meetings with growers involved with the new initiative…”
“This effort is aimed at leveraging the work of a broader coalition to improve the lives of workers, including making it clear that Wal-Mart’s standards do not tolerate working conditions as described in the L.A. Times,” Wal-Mart said. “We do not want to work with suppliers unless they share this commitment.”