Friday, May 24

Farmworkers, advocates call for more worker protections outside Wendy’s exec’s mansion

Farmworkers and advocates on Sunday demonstrated in front of a Wendy’s executive’s Palm Beach mansion, calling for the fast food chain to join others in pledging to protect workers’ rights.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., members of the Coalition of Immokalee workers stood in front of billionaire Nelson Peltz’s home calling on the fast food chain giant to join the Fair Food Program.

Peltz is the chairman of Wendy’s Board of Directors.

The peaceful protest was part of the Farmworker Freedom Festival, a weekend-long event in Palm Beach to highlight the Fair Food Program.

The festival included yoga and fair food history exhibits in Bradley Park, which is near the mansion.

The program, which started in 2011, is a partnership among farm workers, farmers and retail companies that pledge to buy only from suppliers who follow a code of conduct to protect workers’ rights.

Some retail giants who have already pledged to the program, including Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Chipotle, Walmart.

Wendy’s has been called out by the coalition before for not participating in the Fair Food program.

In March, farm workers, joined by Representative Lois Frankel, marched 45 miles to Peltz’s Palm Beach mansion from Pahokee, where workers told WPTV they work for low pay and under abusive conditions.

“There’s still endemic sexual harassment and wage theft that affects workers all over the industry,” Coalition member Lupe Gonzalez said. “There’s also in extreme cases slavery occurring in the food chain right now. A lot of us think, or like to think, that slavery is in the past, something that is not occurring, but there are new creative ways the bosses use to keep people in forced slavery.”

Gonzalez, who was translated by Tristan Call, said that’s part of the reason for Sunday’s protest in addition to creating awareness.

“Weve been inviting Wendy’s to be a part of the Fair Food Program because Wendys can be part of the solution,” Gonzalez said.

Coalition members joined hands outside Peltz’s mansion, surrounding a giant puppet, which Gonzalez said they named “Hope.”

“We wanted to bring a physical manifestation of the hope that we bring to Palm Beach and the hope we bring to Wendy’s that this is something that is achievable, that Wendy’s can be part of a better situation for the workers,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also called out Publix and Kroger for not joining the Fair Food Program, either.

WPTV reached out to Wendy’s and hadn’t heard back.

A spokesperson for Wendy’s previously said in a statement in March:

<i>”Wendys does not participate in the Fair Food Program because there is no nexus between the program and our supply chain. Since 2019, Wendys has sourced our North American tomato supply exclusively from indoor, hydroponic greenhouse farms, while the Fair Food Program predominantly operates in outdoor, conventional tomato growing environments. Further, Wendys has an established Supplier Code of Conduct that applies to significant suppliers of The Wendys Company and our North America restaurant system, and we also require third-party reviews related to the human rights and labor practices for suppliers of certain hand-harvested, whole, fresh produce such as tomatoes. “The idea that joining the Fair Food Program, and purchasing field-grown, commodity tomatoes, is the only way that Wendys can demonstrate responsibility in our supply chain is not true.”</i>

WPTV reached out to Wendy’s, Publix and Kroger, and received this statement from Publix:

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *