BY YASIR ALHUMAIDAN | PHOTO BY YASIR ALHUMAIDAN
Dozens of people gathered in front of Wendy’s restaurant on State Street in Madison on Tuesday March 22 to promote a boycott for fair food.
A tour that promotes the boycott started in Immokalee, Fla., and it is organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food to ensure the protection of rights and wages for farmers and farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida, according to their websites. The tour of 13 stops started from Immokalee and going to end in Tampa, Florida.
Wendy’s has refused to join the Fair Food Program (FFP) which protects farmworkers rights. Also, it has stopped buying tomatoes from the farmers in Florida
since FFP was implemented. The main suppliers of tomatoes are from Mexico, where workers face wage theft and sexual harassment, according to the boycott website.
Lupe Gonzalo, a member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and organizer of the national boycott of Wendy’s, mentioned that they organized this movement to push Wendy’s to sign the FFP and purchase from Florida farmers.
The Executive Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin, Becky Schigiel, came to support the boycott of Wendy’s. “I think it cannot be overstated that the basic rights that they [the tomato farms workers] have gained for themselves and working to increase for themselves and others things like water, be able to get into shade when you are working in a farm, the ability to leave your job.,” Schingiel said. “Wendy’s won’t agree to have independent monitors and when you don’t have that, what you have is what used to exist in these fields in Immokalee, Florida, which is slavery.”
Gonzalo had a message that translated by another member of the organization for anyone who eats at Wendy’s “They should get aware of the conditions that are in the supply chain and care about the conditions in which farmworkers that made that food on their plate possible, the conditions that they work under.” said Gonzalo.