At the recent shareholders meeting of Wendy’s, the world’s third largest burger joint, Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and Larry Cox, former Executive Director of Amnesty International, and an interfaith group of clergy, joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to demand that the company join a program to eliminate the exploitation of farmworkers in its supply chain.
As Kerry Kennedy told the shareholders, “The CIW has signed agreements with four of the five largest [fast] food corporations in America. All… except for Wendy’s.”
The CIW’s Fair Food Program is “one of the most successful and innovative programs” in the country today for preventing forced labor. When human rights activists asked Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick why his company had refused to join the CIW’s Fair Food program, he said that Wendy’s was already purchasing its tomatoes from growers in the Fair Food Program. He also said that they were paying a premium for their tomatoes.
Gerardo Reyes Chavez of the CIW replied:
Wendy’s is not participating in the Fair Food Program …. Wendy’s has not signed a fair food agreement with the CIW. Wendy’s is not paying a penny premium to increase workers’ pay. And Wendy’s has not committed to using its purchasing power to eradicate abuses in the fields together with growers and farmworkers. Wendy’s refuses to commit to joining the Fair Food Program, undermining the concrete commitment and contributions of the eleven corporations that actually are participating and creates a misleading picture for its shareholders and customers.
Wendy’s is ignoring a program that has demonstrably helped workers, which has been joined by the likes of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway, and which has been embraced by people of all faiths, and recognized from the White House to the U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights as the way of the future.
Learn more at Raj Patel’s Huffington Post article: On Human Rights, Wendy’s Isn’t Old Fashioned — Just Outdated.