Protesters target Wendy’s over treatment of farmworkers

COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Sunday against Wendy’s in their treatment of farmworkers.

The protesters, led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, marched from Goodale Park to Tuttle Park. The coalition is calling for a nation boycott, claiming that Wendy’s shifted its purchases to Mexico, favored public relations over human rights and profited from farmworker poverty.

According to the Associated Press, the farmworkers coalition has used demonstrations and sometimes consumer boycotts against companies to pressure them into joining its “Fair Food Program.” Participating companies, which include the largest fast-food companies in the nation like McDonalds, Burger King, Subway and Taco Bell, pay an extra penny-per-pound to their tomato growers to supplement field worker wages in seven states.

Tomato harvesters make an average of about $10,000 during the six-month season, getting paid 50 cents for every 32-pound basket they fill. The coalition says the program can add $20 to $150 per week to their checks.

In a statement made to the Associated Press, Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said the coalition has demanded the Dublin-based company pay an additional fee directly to the tomato harvesters who work for suppliers contracted by the chain.

“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,” his statement said.

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