NYSUT and Fair Trade

fair tradeNYSUT has been encouraging Fair Trade since a 2006 NYSUT RA resolution was passed. The resolution resulted in a statewide education and awareness campaign, encouraging NYSUT members and the schools they work in to purchase Fair Trade products.

We view it as a sign of solidarity to encourage locals to support other workers by pledging to purchase Fair Trade products especially, coffee, tea, and chocolate whenever possible.

The 2006 Fair Trade Resolution also called for the creation of a Fair Trade Task force to partner with the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. This task force has since been incorporated into the Civil and Human Rights Committee where they continue this very important work.

NYSUT Resolution on Fair Trade

Passed at the NYSUT Representative Assembly, Spring 2006

Whereas, coffee and chocolate are two of the most widely traded commodities in the world, and the United States consumes one-fifth of all the world’s coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world, and coffee is the second largest import into the U.S. after oil; and

Whereas, many small coffee and cocoa farmers receive prices for their crops that are less than the costs of production because a variety of commercial buyers, processors, and exporters take advantage of them, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt; and

Whereas, children have to quit school and are denied basic human rights including a sound education because they are forced to work on coffee farms to keep labor costs low; and

Whereas, there are severe environmental consequences to the current commercial methods of growing and harvesting these crops, e.g., poisoning the land due to overuse and misuse of herbicides and pesticides; and

Whereas, small growers and cooperatives in Latin America, Africa and Asia find it almost impossible to compete with large corporations and agribusiness in locating buyers for the high quality products they produce; and

Whereas, Fair Trade is a viable economic solution to this situation correcting market imbalances by guaranteeing a minimum price for small farmers’ harvest encouraging organic and sustainable cultivation practices, and assuring consumers that the coffee they drink was grown, harvested and purchased under fair and humane conditions; therefore be it

Resolved, that NYSUT build support for Fair Trade through an education and awareness campaign; and be it further

Resolved, that NYSUT encourage the purchasing of Fair Trade products by its 525,000 members and the schools within which they work; and be it further

Resolved, that NYSUT encourage all of its locals to show solidarity and support by these workers by pledging to purchase Fair Trade products especially, coffee, tea and chocolate, whenever possible; and be it further

Resolved, that the President of NYSUT consider creating a permanent task force to partner with the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition and to deal with promoting and supporting Fair Trade and international solidarity; this task force would be required to report at future Representative Assemblies.


Fair Trade Project

fair trade projectThe Fair Trade Project builds support for the fair trade movement among union members, their families and their communities. International worker-to-worker solidarity trumps the ravages of corporate monopolies as union members "walk the walk" with workers around the world.

To learn more - and to order fair trade goods online - visit the Fair Trade Project at:

"Fair Trade creates a relationship between a consumer who receives a product of excellent quality and a producer who gets a fair price for it. In addition to quality we have something other sellers cannot offer the consumer—the chance to help communities develop by supporting farmer-owned organizations and care for the environment through the purchase of organic coffee." - Victor Perezgróvos, Unión Majomut Coffee Cooperative, Mexico.

Meet Rehima

Rehima, the woman featured in the Fair Trade Project poster above, is the daughter of an Ethiopian coffee farmer. Because her father is a member of a Fair Trade coffee cooperative, Rehima was able to complete high school. She is now a university student in Harare, Ethiopia.