NEW YORK — On Monday, November 20 at 5:30 p.m., scores of students, multi-faith clergy, and consumers from across New York and the Northeast will join with a delegation of farmworker women at the Wendy’s at 714 3rd Ave (near E 45th St) to march to the offices of Wendy’s Board Chairman and major shareholder Nelson Peltz at Trian Partners, located at 280 Park Ave (near E 49th St), to demand an end to sexual violence in the supply chain of the world’s third-largest hamburger chain.
For more than four years, Wendy’s has steadfastly refused to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program (FFP) to protect farmworkers’ human rights in the retailer’s supply chain. Instead, the fast-food company shifted its tomato purchases from FFP farms in Florida to Mexico, where workers face widespread labor abuses, including sexual harassment and assault, without access to protections. Though human rights violations in Mexican agriculture are well-documented, Wendy’s has responded to concerns about abuse in their supply chain by saying simply, “We are quite happy with the quality and taste of the tomatoes we are sourcing from Mexico,” in an Oct. 2016 statement.
Monday’s protest culminates this fall’s ‘Harvest without Violence’ campaign to draw attention — and put an end — to sexual violence and other human rights violations in Wendy’s supply chain. In the agricultural industry, an estimated 80 percent of women report experiencing sexual harassment and assault on the job. The FFP is widely recognized as the single most effective program combating and preventing sexual abuse in agriculture today, doing that through the commitment of 14 major food brands who purchase exclusively from producers that uphold a strict human rights code of conduct with zero tolerance for sexual violence. All of Wendy’s major fast food competitors including McDonald’s and Burger King participate in the FFP. Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission singled out the FFP as a “radically different accountability mechanism” in preventing sexual harassment in the fields, and the United Nations called the Program “an international benchmark” for human rights protections. Just last month, the FFP was named one “of the most important social-impact stories of the past century” in the Harvard Business Review.
What: Major “Harvest without Violence” march to the offices of Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz at Trian Partners, to demand an end to sexual violence in the fast-food restaurant’s supply chain by calling on the retailer to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ award-winning Fair Food Program
Where: March begins at Wendy’s (714 3rd Ave, near E 45th St) and ends at Trian Partners (280 Park Ave, near E 49th St)
When: Monday, November 20 at 5:30pm
The national consumer boycott of Wendy’s launched by farmworkers last year to demand that the company join the FFP has garnered tens of thousands of supporters across the country, including major endorsements from the Presbyterian Church (USA), U.S. Women’s Soccer superstar Abby Wambach, among others.
About the Fair Food Program: The Fair Food Program is a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and 14 major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart, heralded as “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US on the front page of the New York Times. Participating retailers agree to purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment. Retailers also pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out directly to workers by their employers. Since the Program’s inception in 2011, buyers have paid over $26 million into the FFP. In 2015, the Program expanded for the first time beyond Florida to tomato fields in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, and in the 2015-2016 season, the Fair Food Program expanded to two new Florida crops, strawberries and bell peppers.
–Coalition of Immokalee Workers
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