NESRI Media Center

Farmworkers & Consumers Declare a National Boycott of Wendy's

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Publication Date: 
March 8, 2016

Last week, the Campaign for Fair Food announced a national boycott of Wendy's. For the last several years the Campaign for Fair Food has been pressuring the fast food giant to recognize the dignity of farmworkers and join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' groundbreaking Fair Food Program (FFP).

The Fair Food Program includes participating retailers who purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct that has zero tolerance for slavery and sexual harrassment. Participating retailers must also pay an additional "penny per pound" of produce that is paid directly to workers. The Program continues to expand, and in 2015 it has grown beyond its original location in Florida into Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey. Initially created by and for farmworkers who pick tomatoes, this crop season, the FFP will expand further within Florida into two new crops, strawberries and bell peppers.

As the press release from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) states, the CIW is calling for consumers to boycott Wendy’s because:

  1. Wendy’s has shifted its purchases from Florida to Mexico: Wendy’s has not only refused to join the FFP, but has stopped buying tomatoes from Florida altogether following the implementation of the Fair Food Program there. Rather than support U.S. growers setting new standards for human rights in the agricultural industry, Wendy’s took its tomato purchases to Mexico, where the widespread denial of human rights in the produce industry was the subject of an in-depth exposé by the Los Angeles Times just one year ago.
  2. Wendy’s has chosen public relations over human rights protections: Instead of joining the Fair Food Program and its widely-acclaimed, uniquely successful worker-driven model of social responsibility, Wendy’s released a new supplier code of conduct this past January that contains no effective mechanisms for worker participation or enforcement. Wendy’s new code represents the very worst of the traditional corporate approach to social responsibility driven by public relations concerns rather than the verifiable protection of human rights.
  3. Wendy’s is profiting from farmworker poverty: Wendy’s stands alone as the last of the five major U.S. fast food corporations to refuse to join the FFP: McDonald’s, Yum! Brands (owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut), Subway, and Burger King are all part of the Program. By refusing to participate, Wendy’s is deriving a very real cost advantage over its competitors, while continuing to provide a market for less reputable growers.

 

Read more about the Workers' Voice Tour and the national boycott of Wendy's here.

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