Florida farmworkers are boycotting Wendy’s over their refusal to join the Fair Food Program

Farmworkers in Florida are turning up the pressure on Wendy’s. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights organization, has been calling for a national boycott of the fast food chain since 2016 for their refusal to join the Fair Food Program (FFP), a partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for farmworkers growing the produce used in retail establishments. Fourteen national buyers, including fast food giants like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell, have all joined the FFP since the program started in 2011. But despite years of protests, Wendy’s continues to evade national pressure. Now, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is partnering with Majority Action to press Wendy’s shareholders to vote against the board and ensure the protection of workers in its food supply chain.

“Not signing with the FFP puts the corporation at risk, [because] there may be complaints of forced labor, sexual harassment, or sexual assault,” said Lupe Gonzalo, a senior staff member with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. “We want investors to know that joining the FFP is an advantage they can have as a corporation.”

This month, over 800 farmworkers and consumers took to the streets in Palm Beach near the home of Nelson Peltz, the majority shareholder and board chairman for Wendy’s. In anticipation of Wendy’s shareholder meeting on May 18, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is hosting a rally and street theater protest May 12 in front of the headquarters for Trian Partners, Wendy’s largest institutional shareholder, in New York City. 

Peltz has the power to sign Wendy’s up for FFP but has been making excuses for not joining since 2013. At the time, Peltz claimed all the Florida tomatoes purchased by Wendy’s came from suppliers who already participated in the FFP. But, according to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the claim “rings hollow” and is unverifiable and meaningless because in the event that one of the suppliers is suspended from the program for violating worker safety conditions, Wendy’s would be under no obligation to shift its purchases to another supplier, as it would under the FFP rules. 

Read the complete article at www.prismreports.org.


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