Wendy's: We’re boycotting you until you support human rights for farmworkers!
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For decades, farmworkers in the U.S. have faced physical and verbal abuse, daily threats to their health and safety, racial discrimination, wage theft and grinding poverty. Farmworkers also experience unconscionably high rates of sexual violence and harassment in the fields. In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that 80% of farmworker women report that they have experienced sexual harassment on the job.
And in the most extreme cases, farmworkers have faced modern-day slavery, with nearly a dozen forced labor operations uncovered over the past two decades in Florida’s fields alone.
That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news:
Today, there is a solution. As farmworkers, we have created the Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking partnership among workers, growers, and major retail brands like McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Burger King that is ending decades of farmworker poverty and powerlessness. The Fair Food Program has been called “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the U.S. in the New York Times, and “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in the Washington Post, and has won widespread recognition for its unique effectiveness from a broad spectrum of human rights observers, from the White House to the United Nations. Just last year the Fair Food Program received a Presidential Medal for its unique success in fighting modern-day slavery and other human rights abuses in corporate supply chains.
But despite the Program’s historic achievements in advancing farmworkers' human rights, one buyer is still standing in the way of progress: Wendy’s.
We are calling on you to stand with farmworkers in boycotting Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program and agree to protect the basic human rights of workers in their supply chain.
Not only has Wendy’s turned its back on the farmworkers who harvest its produce, but it has taken steps that directly undermine the transformation that has been brought about by the Fair Food Program. Here’s how:
- Wendy's has not only refused to join the Fair Food Program (FFP), but has stopped buying tomatoes from Florida since the implementation of the FFP there. Rather than support an industry setting new standards for human rights, Wendy's took its tomato purchases to Mexico, where workers continue to confront wage theft, sexual harassment, child labor, and even slavery without access to protections.
- Instead of joining the FFP and its widely-acclaimed, uniquely successful worker-driven model of social responsibility, Wendy's released a new supplier code of conduct 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 rather than human rights.
- Wendy's stands alone as the last of the five major fast food corporations in the country not part of the FFP: McDonald's, Burger King, Yum! Brands and Subway are all doing the right thing and participating in the Program. By refusing to join, Wendy's is deriving a very real cost advantage over its competitors, while continuing to provide an alternative market for less reputable growers.
It is unconscionable that Wendy’s refuses to support one of today’s most promising models to end poverty and human rights abuses in low-wage industries across the world.
In five short years since its implementation, the Fair Food Program has prevented modern-day slavery and sexual violence, improved farmworker wages, and guaranteed basic safety protections for workers. Since the Program’s inception, participating buyers have paid well over $20 million into the FFP, helping to alleviate the poverty that our families have faced for decades.
And we aren’t stopping with Florida tomatoes. In the past year, we expanded into Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, and to two new Florida crops, strawberries and bell peppers. Thanks to the support of participating buyers, the Fair Food Program has expanded its protections to tens of thousands of new workers, and is poised to grow exponentially in the years ahead.
Today, we need you to tell Wendy’s that if they want your business, they must join the Fair Food Program.
To learn how you can join thousands of other consumers in the national Wendy’s Boycott, visit boycott-wendys.org.
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