Labor in Food Supply Chains


Farm worker

Integral to the sustainability of our food system is the health and prosperity of its workforce, yet the agricultural and food production sectors have a long history of egregious human rights violations including forced labor, low wages and the denial of collective bargaining rights. Failure to adequately support employees in these sectors may lower worker productivity and result in labor strikes or work stoppages that adversely impact business. Companies that guarantee employees a living wage and respect internationally recognized workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining will benefit from reduced turnover and increased productivity.

Featured ICCR Initiative

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. It harnesses the power of consumer demand to give farmworkers a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, and to eliminate the longstanding abuses that have plagued agriculture for generations.

The Equitable Food Initiative Standard (EFI) ICCR supports the EFI, a mult-stakeholder partnership to help workers, growers and major food buyers collaborate to grow safer food.  Learn how the Initiative creates additional value throughout the food system. 

Featured Best Practice

The Coca Cola Company's stance on ethical labor recruitment.

Wal-Mart Joins the Fair Food Program. World's largest retailer to put unprecedented market power behind groundbreaking Fair Food Program.

Featured Resources

Factoring Sustainable Labor into the Sustainable Food Equation

No Relief: Oxfam America report on the widespread practice of denial of bathroom breaks for poultry workers.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers: The Coalition works to combat labor abuses common in the agricultural sector.

Hungry Workers in the U.S. Food Supply Chain: Corporate Examiner article.

The Hands that Feed Us: A report by the Food chain Workers Alliance. 

Unsafe at These Speeds: A study of workplace safety inside poultry processing plants.

Center for New Community: Its Food Justice program brings together representatives from industry, academia, government, and the non-profit sector to address racial justice issues in the nation’s food system.





Voices of the Food Chain

Voices of the Food Chain