A timely guest post from our guest industry blogger, Jay Martini: From Jay:

I can’t help but think we’re being played here.

The ‘news’ of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) protesting outside a Lakeland, FL Publix store on Sunday is just the latest in a series of semi-orchestrated machinations to browbeat corporate retailers afraid of offending anybody for fear of lost business.

Certainly, the physical act of picking crops is very, very tough, and routinely that ‘grunt’ work is designated to the folks that have the least. That’s gone on since, well…forever, back to the days of slavery, picking cotton. But don’t think for a second that this situation is 100% minority-driven, unless one adds broke college students to the mix. I remember many of my fraternity brothers spending broiling summers in the Midwest de-tassling corn, a thankless exercise in futility. After hearing their horror stories, I was pretty happy with my temporary lot in life at that time, unloading rail cars of lettuce from the Chicago track.

It’s a simple fact of personal economics: without education, without citizenship, without a little money in the BANK for crissakes, you’re going to be digging ditches for a long time.

On the surface, it seems curious that McDonald’s, Burger King and YUM! Brands (A&W, KFC, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) would acquiesce and roll over so quickly in the face of these protests that really aren’t that well organized in the first place. But then I realized that these decisions made by the fast-food bigwigs are based much more on fear of losing their core customer than any humanitarian motives.

I’ve been visiting tomato grower/shippers in Immokalee for a long time. It can be a hard place to live & work, but maybe even a harder place to grow & profit. Geographically, Immokalee can freeze faster & more severely than areas 75 miles to the north, a real freak of nature. So it’s not only the workers that are at risk. The folks with financial responsibility are as well.

A penny a pound, a quarter a package, four hundred bucks a load, is more than one thinks.

And bully to Publix for not giving in.