Policy Mandates Humane Conditions in School Food Supply Chain
(SAN FRANCISCO) – The Teamsters applauded a unanimous vote by the San Francisco Unified School District School Board yesterday evening to adopt a policy committing to the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP).
The GFPP provides a metric-based framework and set of tools that guides institutions and organizations to direct their buying power toward suppliers that meet benchmarks in five inter-connected values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition.
At the school board meeting, board members heard moving testimony from Jose Vega, a worker who was subject to an unfair termination from Taylor Farms, where the Teamsters have been battling abusive employer practices and blatant disregard for worker health and safety at the company for years.
Companies like Taylor Farms would be required to demonstrate benevolent labor practices and a clean record on food safety before doing business with the San Francisco Unified School District.
Taylor Farms is currently under investigation by Cal/OSHA for a variety of alleged worker and safety violations and the company has already faced dozens of citations and over $100,000 worth of fines.
“This innovative and forward-thinking policy is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by many Teamsters,” said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Joint Council 7. “It will ensure that food purchased by the school district will meet high ethical standards and hold suppliers like Taylor Farms in Tracy, California, who routinely violate OSHA regulations and labor laws, economically accountable for their poor treatment of workers.”
“I am grateful for the action taken today by the San Francisco Unified School District,” said Armida Galeana, a worker at Taylor Farms. “At Taylor Farms, many of us work in fear of retaliation for union activity. We are leery of discrimination against us for our gender and sexual orientation. The company has already demonstrated that they don’t care about our health and safety either. It is encouraging to us that businesses and organizations are starting to notice Taylor Farms’ terrible record on these issues. We hope their purchasers, and other organizations, will hold them accountable for their actions.”
"In adopting the Good Food Policy, the San Francisco Unified School District voted to lead the nation in using procurement dollars to reflect the values of our district,” said Sandra Lee Fewer, a San Francisco School Board Commissioner. “This money must boost our city in the areas of local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition. Passing this policy was absolutely the right thing to do."
The Good Food Purchasing Program is a collaborative initiative of cross-sector national and local partners coordinated by the Center for Good Food Purchasing. The Center for Good Food Purchasing provides planning, implementation and evaluation support for institutions using the GFPP framework. Other participants include the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District, and GFPP activity in Oakland, Calif., Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., and Austin, Texas.
The following organizations submitted letters in support of the policy: ASPCA, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Farm Forward, Friends of the Earth, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Humane Society, Mission High School, Roots of Change, Slow Food San Francisco, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, SPUR and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.