For the last few months, Wendy’s has received backlash for not joining the Coalition of Immokalee Workers‘ Fair Food Program, a “partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms.”
The program helps to protect the workers from sexual abuse and harassment. McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut have agreed to participate in the program.
The criticism of Wendy’s started when it stopped buying its tomatoes from Florida around the time that the Fair Food Program was implemented in the state. The fast food chain then started to buy its tomatoes from Mexico.
Wendy’s has repeatedly said that the switch to Mexico was due to the tomato quality being superior in Mexico during the winter.
“Our tomato purchasing moves seasonally throughout various growing regions of North America during the year. In the warmer months, we purchase tomatoes from states like California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. In the colder months, we purchase tomatoes primarily from Mexico, which is what we have done for the past few years. In the past we purchased winter tomatoes from Florida, and we may do so again in the future. But right now, we are quite happy with the quality and taste of the tomatoes we are sourcing from Mexico,” writes Liliana Esposito, Wendy’s Chief Communication Officer in a blog post explaining the matter.
Wendy’s claims that the CLW is “exploiting” the #MeToo movement to collect more fees from large companies.
“There’s no new news here, aside from the CIW trying to exploit the positive momentum that has been generated by and for women in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement to advance their interests,” said Heidi Schauer, a spokesperson for Wendy’s to the “Huffington Post.”
A few weeks ago, female farmworkers and supporter protested outside of the office of Wendy’s board chairman and hedge fund investor Nelson Peltz for five days in a row.
Stemming from the #MeToo movement, these workers have gained the attention of celebrity advocates.
American actress Alyssa Milano took to social media to applaud the farmworkers efforts and to put Wendy’s on blast.
“These incredible women, who come from one of the harshest working environments in the U.S. and who put food on our tables, are a shining example in the fight to protect the dignity and safety of all women,” said Milano on Facebook. “They have not only shone a light on the routine abuse that farmworker women face, but they have built a proven solution to bring that abuse to an end, and have become an example to millions of women across industry lines.”
Ooooo see man I didn’t know anything about this. Wendy’s has been distracting us with all sorts of smoke and gas with their phenomenal twitter account. I have my own personal beef with Wendy (BRING BACK THE SPICY NUGGETS!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!) but yea I had no idea about any of this. This seems like it could really blow up in their faces the more exposure and momentum this keeps gaining. Guess we’ll have to just wait and see.