Shareholders arriving for the annual meeting at Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin Thursday were met by picketers. The protesters want Wendy’s to exert more pressure on suppliers to provide better working conditions for farm laborers.
Some 50 demonstrators want Wendy’s to sign the Fair Food Agreement. Lupe Gonzalo is a member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. She spoke through a translator.
"We’re inviting Wendy’s to pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes that will be passed on to workers in the form of a bonus. And we’re demanding an end to so many abuses that workers have experienced on the job in the agriculture industry,” Gonzalo said.
Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini responded that tomato harvesters are not Wendy’s employees. He said it’s therefore inappropriate to pay another employer’s workers directly.
Gonzalo says Wendy’s is the lone hold-out, refusing to sign on to the Fair Food program.
"What Wendy’s is continuing to do is to make profit off of the back of the exploitation of farm workers rather than be part of the solution of farm worker poverty and exploitation," Gonzalo said.
Company spokesman Bertini says Wendy’s supports human rights and will continue to focus on labor practices in the agricultural sector. He says human rights and labor practices are a concern for the company especially for people for who harvest by hand. He says Wendy’s relies on its own Supplier Code of Conduct rather than the Fair Food Agreement.