When the headlines about a surge of forced labor in agriculture in the United States and Mexico dominated the news, we hoped that Wendy’s – the lone holdout fast-food giant that has still not joined the Fair Food Program – would come to its senses, stop hiding behind ineffective and long-discredited corporate social responsibility practices, and take real, proven measures to protect workers in its supply chain. Perhaps now, amidst the flood of horrific headlines, the hamburger giant would finally make the moral (and logical) choice to join the Fair Food Program.
But when they didn’t, we took the fight to end modern-day slavery to their doorstep. And brought 800+ of our friends with us.
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In April, we organized our first big march since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to the Trian Partners offices in Palm Beach, Florida, and we were joined by hundreds of allies from across faith, student, immigrant, and consumer movements.
[link removed] [[link removed]] The Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, economic justice minister for the United Church of Christ, was one of several passionate faith leaders who joined us in Palm Beach, calling upon Wendy’s to “do the moral thing.” And, since we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, here are Rev. Hamlin’s reasons, word for word:
“Wendy’s said this has nothing to do with our supply chain. But the pandemic has shown us we are all connected. We know based on recent cases that modern-day slavery — forced labor — is alive and on the rise in the North American agricultural supply chain.
“We also know that before U.S. Customs and Border Protection put a hold on tomatoes from some Mexican farms, Mastronardi, a supplier for Wendy’s, purchased and imported some of the ill-gotten tomatoes. Yet, Wendy’s will not give any definitive statement that these tomatoes did not make it to their stores.
“The Fair Food Program would put a stop to such secrecy. We will not stop until Peltz and Wendy’s do the moral thing and join like the other major fast-food chains.”
Rev. Hamlin is right: We won’t stop, because we know it’s not only the moral thing to do, it’s the only real solution to the crisis of human rights abuses and dangerous working conditions that have plagued agriculture for generations.
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Coalition of Immokalee Workers
110 S 2nd St
Immokalee, FL 34142
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