Farmworkers, Consumers Declare National Boycott of Wendy’s

On Thursday, March 3, hundreds of farmworkers, religious leaders, students, and consumers gathered near Columbus Circle in New York City to launch a national boycott of Wendy’s, the world’s third largest hamburger chain. The boycott, only the second in the history of the Campaign for Fair Food, has been necessitated by Wendy’s steadfast refusal to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program (FFP).  The FFP is a groundbreaking social responsibility program that has won recognition from the White House to the United Nations for its unique success in addressing decades-old farm labor abuses.  All of Wendy’s major competitors in the fast-food industry – McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell and Chipotle – have already joined the Fair Food    Program.

The CIW is calling for consumers to boycott Wendy’s because:                                    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 US 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 expose by the Los Angeles Times just one year ago.                                                                                                                                                         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.                                                                                                                                           Wendy’s is profiting from farmworker poverty:  Wendy’s stands alone as the last of the five major US fast food corporations to refuse to join the FFP: McDonald’s, Yum! Brands, 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.                                                                                                         Coalition of Immokalee Workers

 

 

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