Dole Packaged Foods' US workers will soon make $15 an hour
Posted February 19, 2021 9:29 a.m. EST
CNN — All of Dole Packaged Foods' US-based employees will make at least $15 an hour within a few months, the company says.
"The $15 an hour that is actually being discussed today in the Biden administration... I think we're very close from actually doing the same ourselves," said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, president of Dole Packaged Foods, in an interview with CNN Business. "A few more weeks or months of work and I think we will be able to actually confirm that."
The move comes as farm and plant workers across the US have remained at high risk during the pandemic — often working in tight quarters -— and concerns are high about the global food supply chain. Dole Packaged Foods, a Dole brand that grows and distributes fruit and healthy snacks, employs 27,000 people globally including 1,100 in the Americas.
On the supply chain front, Sigismondi also discussed the slowdown in maritime transport that has made food more scarce, and labor shortages that have led to inflation: "The supply chains are very, very tight right now. It's not easy to distribute foods in today's world where there's so much tension."
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are out of work and some are unable to afford food to feed their families. With food prices skyrocketing, especially for healthy items, some Americans have been forced to buy to cheaper foods that may be less nutritious.
"We have a role to play in actually reducing the cost of our products," Sigismondi said. "Once we satisfy the need of our shareholders, we will also need to be aware that good nutrition needs to be available as many people as possible."
Dole also launched a program called Sunshine for All, designed to bring fresh produce and nutritious meals to communities that need it the most. Jackson, Missouri, is the first location to receive money and resources through the program, which includes events like pop-up farmer's markets.
The company also announced a $2 million program to provide funds to entrepreneurs, startups and NGOs who aim to address food sustainability, access and waste.