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Labor

Rotten tomatoes.  The Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW), an influential farmworker advocacy group, is helping to organize a national boycott of the fast food chain Wendy’s, The Nation reports. The effort is an attempt to pressure the company to sign onto its Fair Food Program, an agreement designed to reduce labor exploitation in the supply chain.
 
CIW came to prominence through its work in the tomato fields of Immokalee, Florida, a years-in-the-making effort that gradually transformed a site of chronic farmworker abuse. Since enlisting 90% of Florida’s tomato industry in Fair Food guidelines, the organization has turned its gaze towards consumer-facing multinationals, including companies like Walmart, McDonald’s and Whole Foods. The legally binding agreement requires pledge-holders to benefit workers by paying an extra premium on tomatoes, which they can buy only from farms approved by independent audit.
 
“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,” CIW writes, on a new website devoted to the Wendy’s campaign. “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…. 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.”

Joe Fassler bio

Joe Fassler

Joe Fassler is New Food Economy's senior editor. His food safety and public health reporting has been a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism. Follow him @joefassler.