Protestors have targeted fast-food giant Wendy’s in connection with alleged violations of agricultural workers’ employee rights. Groups from throughout the United States have accused the restaurant chain of promoting such egregious violations as slavery, which was identified among the Florida agricultural workers’ community.
The protestors descended on the streets of New York on May 18 in support of the Fair Food Program, an initiative sponsored by the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers. Companies that participate in the program agree to pay just one cent more per pound of tomatoes purchased, according to official reports. That extra money increases workers’ wages and promotes human rights. Companies who participate are also bound to purchase tomatoes only from companies that are committed to improved labor standards and investigation under an independent council in the event of a complaint.
Wendy’s is one of the franchises that have not yet bought into the workers’ protection program. As a result, the restaurant chain is promoting de facto sexual abuse and farmworker slavery, according to many field hands. At least seven slavery cases have been prosecuted in Florida alone, involving some 1,000 workers. Furthermore, official research shows female farmworkers are significantly more likely to suffer sexual abuse than their male counterparts, largely because of language barriers and fear of reporting the incidents.
Some participants in the program include Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King and the much-embattled Taco Bell, the first restaurant to come under scrutiny for its tomato-buying practices. The initiative has been successful because of the fervent participation of college students, according to many activists.
Farmworkers and other agricultural employees suffer many indiscretions at the hands of their employers. If your employee rights have been violated, consider seeking the advice of a qualified employment attorney. These professionals can help you stop the harassment and abuse, while opening doors to get you the money you need to support your family. Do not continue to suffer alone.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.com, “Wendy’s fair food protest pushes for farmworker rights ahead of shareholder meeting” No author given, May. 20, 2013