SpartanNash has become the first food distributor in Michigan to sign Migrant Legal Aid’s Fair Food Pledge, affirming the company’s commitment to fair labor practices for the state’s more than 94,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families.
The Fair Food Pledge exemplifies SpartanNash’s commitment to corporate responsibility, including the fair treatment of farmworkers, according to the company.
SpartanNash is the fifth largest food distributor in the U.S.; it distributes fresh produce from 250 Michigan farms to its 160 corporate-owned stores and 2,100 independent customers.
“At SpartanNash, we are committed to the well-being of our communities, customers and associates—and we strive to run our business with integrity and accountability,” said Larry Pierce, SpartanNash EVP of merchandising and marketing. “Our customers purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at our stores every day, and we want them to know that our company is committed to providing them with produce that has been harvested under safe and equitable working conditions.”
By signing the Michigan Fair Food Pledge, SpartanNash pledges to work in partnership with Migrant Legal Aid when Michigan produce suppliers appear to be in violation of regulations requiring fair treatment and safe working conditions. This includes respecting the dignity of workers, treating them with fairness and equity and providing fair wages, access to bathrooms and drinking water and safe, clean housing.
“Migrant workers provide fresh produce for our tables, but they lack the protections and safeguards other workers enjoy under state and federal laws,” said Teresa Hendricks, director and senior litigator for the Michigan Migrant Legal Aid. “With the new alliance between Migrant Legal Aid and SpartanNash, more than 94,000 workers and family members will be better protected from inhumane and unethical treatment. This alliance is the first of its kind in Michigan, and was only possible because of the corporate leadership and compassion of SpartanNash. I’m ecstatic that SpartanNash cares how its products get to market and has the integrity to stand behind them with this Fair Food Pledge.”
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state after California. Forty-five Michigan crops are hand harvested by migrant and seasonal farmworkers each year, including blueberries, tart cherries, apples and cucumbers.