High 5

High 5

Pickers and gatherers of produce, People getting their hands dirty, by pulling roots and breaking stems, filling baskets and boxes, are making about a penny a pound for their work, give or take. When the final products of their efforts are passed along to the consumer, the price will be measured in dollars a pound.

If retailers were willing to mark prices in increments of 5 cents (not a common figure currently) this could be used to signify that they are passing this much down the line, to these hard-working men, women and children, an additional 5 cents per pound for their hard labors. Consumers can make certain this way that those employed to supply them with their needed nutrients are being compensated in a more reasonable way than is common today.

How are foreigners and migrants going to be able to keep track of and report what they are due? Rewarding cooperating growers with better sales will help and a well-monitored program of verification and tracking of funds. Of course, a mechanism must be implemented, to make certain that these funds are not diverted before they reach their intended recipients. For these reasons, one cent of the five will need to be used to devise and operate an efficient and honest process to make certain that everything works as well as humanly possible.

Any funds not needed to administer this program are to be used to enable other populations who are accustomed to receive a minuscule portion of the profits generated through their sweat-fueled efforts, apparel workers, etc., to accomplish this same purpose. Perhaps clothing prices will include a 25 cent additional payment to the gatherers of the raw materials, along with those who sew or dye the cloth, with $.25 prices reflecting retailers’ participation.

Will employers simply lower wages by the amount of these “bonuses”? Unfortunately, some will try to, so effective means must be employed, and constantly improved and updated, to thwart humanity’s worst impulses and habits or nothing will change. Great public shame must be heaped on criminals who rob the poor to help themselves and they must know that they will be identified, blackballed and ejected from civilized commerce.

The details needed to make this a reality must be gleaned from a number of conferences, by telecommunications and in person, and the participation of all those to be affected by these measures, workers, growers, retailers, distributors, and consumers of food. Time is of the essence since this has already taken far too long to implement. These actions must be carried out in harmony with not in place of other attempts to improve the working conditions of all farm laborers.