I’m here today because it’s been ten years since we first sent a letter asking Wendy’s to meet higher ethical standards in its tomato supply chain and to pay a Fair Food Premium to address farmworkers’ sub-poverty wages.
Since then, 90% of Florida’s tomato growers have joined the Fair Food Program, alongside Wendy’s four major competitors, who have recognized the Program as a crucial step to modernize their supply chains.
Without a doubt, the Program has brought most of the Florida tomato industry into the 21st century: eliminating modern-day slavery and greatly reducing sexual harassment, among other things. Just this year, the White House awarded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers with the Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts in Combating Modern Slavery.
But we can’t stop there. These crucial protections must be expanded to protect not only tens of thousands of workers in the Florida tomato fields, but hundreds of thousands of workers in other states and crops. With Walmart’s commitment to the Fair Food Program in 2014, we are now poised to begin that expansion.
But Wendy’s commitment is necessary in order to ensure that workers at the base of your supply chain aren’t excluded from these rights. Meanwhile, participating in the program will enable Wendy’s to mitigate risk and to give your consumers a product that you can truly call “honest.”