Economy

Wendy's Is Having a Really Bad Day

March 14th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Farm workers who supply tomatoes to the fast-food chain Wendy's protested for better wages this weekend by demonstrating outside the home of billionaire owner Nelson Peltz.

The protest was supported by Ethel Kennedy, the widow of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who is assisting the effort to pressure the chain into boosting the wages of tomato farmers, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The protesters are pushing Wendy's to join the Fair Food Program, a partnership that "ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms," according to its website. Through the Fair Food Program's regulations, buyers like Wendy's supplement the wages paid by farm owners to ensure workers earned at least one penny for every pound of tomatoes they harvest.

This was the final protest of a 10-day boycott tour that also included visits to the Peltz New York City office and Wendy's HQ in Ohio, according to West Palm CBS affiliate WPEC. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Alliance for Fair Food, and Student/Farmworker Alliance organized the event, which Immokalee farm worker, Leonel Perez, said he hoped caught the attention of Peltz.

“He has the power to bring Wendy’s to the (bargaining) table,” Perez told the Palm Beach Post through a translator.

 

Wendy's remains one of the last fast-food chains holding out against joining the Fair Food Program, according to CBS News.

Wendy's

In late 2014, the Coalition for Immokalee Workers said farm workers earn around 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they harvest, meaning someone who harvests 4,000 pounds of tomatoes daily would only earn $62, according to the Orlando Sentinel. For the six-month season, they earn around $10,000, CBS News reported. The coalition claims that the Fair Food Program can increase their weekly pay by up to $150.

Bob Bertini, Wendy’s spokesman, defended the company in a statement Friday by saying the tomato harvesters aren't Wendy's workers and that the chain doesn't see a reason to pay "another company's workers."

"These individuals are not Wendy’s employees, and we have not thought it appropriate to pay another company’s workers — just as we do not pay factory workers, truck drivers or maintenance personnel that work for our other suppliers,” Bertini said.

Here are some Twitter posts about the protest over the weekend:

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