Wal-Mart is joining an initiative that requires its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farmworker pay, have zero tolerance for forced labor and put in place a mechanism to resolve labor disputes between growers and workers.

The step makes Wal-Mart the largest and most influential corporation to join the program promoted by the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a major farmworkers' group.

Officials with the nation's largest retailer announced its participation in the Fair Food Program on Thursday at a ceremony on a farm near the southwest Florida town of Immokalee.

Coalition farmworkers say they welcome Wal-Mart to the program since no other company has the market strength and consumer reach that Wall-Mart has.

Wal-Mart joins almost a dozen other corporations, including Yum Brands and McDonalds, in the initiative.

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