Activism

Wendy’s Feels the Heat: Protestors Hit NYC Streets to Demand Justice for Farmworkers

Hundreds took to the streets of NYC on Thursday, March 3rd to protest Wendy’s refusal to join the highly regarded Fair Food Program.

Photo Credit: courtesy Food Tank

On Thursday, March 3, hundreds marched to the office of Wendy’s Board Chairman, Nelson Peltz. Farmers, religious leaders, students, and consumers hit the streets of New York City to demand that the fast food giant join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) award-winning Fair Food Program (FFP).

Regarded as one of the best workplace monitoring programs in the United States, the FFP is an innovative partnership between farmers, farmworkers, and fourteen major food retailers.

Participating retailers such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart agree to purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven code of conduct. Additionally, retailers agree to pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out directly to the farmworkers. Since the program’s inception in 2011, the FFP has added US$20 million to participating growers’ payroll. Originally focused on Florida-grown tomatoes, the program has recently expanded to six additional states and extended to two new crops.

According to the Alliance for Fair Food, Wendy’s is one of the largest buyers of tomatoes in the restaurant industry. Yet, they have refused to join the FFP. In fact, following the widespread implementation of the FFP in Florida fields, Wendy’s inexplicably pulled its purchases from the state altogether. In 2015, Wendy’s did release its own supplier code of conduct, but CIW has since discredited it for lack of accountability.

Thursday’s march marked the beginning of the CIW’s five-city Workers’ Voice Tour, which builds on a three-year consumer campaign and a year-long national student boycott of Wendy’s. The march commenced at 4 p.m. at W 58th St between 8th and 9th Ave, near Columbus Circle, and ended at Trian Partners (280 Park Ave) in Midtown Manhattan.

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