Corporate insult to farmworker women is one more reason to ‘Boycott Wendy’s!’

Liberation photo: Vincent Tsai
Liberation photo: Vincent Tsai

On March 15, some 2,000 farmworkers, their families and their supporters chanting “Boycott Wendy’s” marched to the New York City corporate office of the fast food chain’s Chairman of the Board. This “Time’s Up Wendy’s March,” and a 5-day hunger strike preceding it, sought to get Wendy’s to sign a Fair Food Agreement with the workers who pick its tomatoes. Such an agreement would protect the workers from slavery wages and sexual violence and harassment in the farms that service the fast food chain.

Wendy’s response to these just demand hit a new low. On March 22, the fast food giant’s  spokesperson, Heidi Schauer, accused the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which organizes the farmworkers, of “trying to exploit the positive momentum that has been generated by and for women in the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp movements to advance their interests.”

The capitalists won’t rest. Divide and conquer is what they do.  But this crass attempt to divide the CIW and the #TimesUp movement using class antagonism has badly backfired. It was quickly rebutted by #TimesUp’s Alyssa Milano: “The Immokalee women workers are the heart of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement,” she said.  “To suggest that farmworker women — whose voices, power, and strength were on impressive display in front of the offices of Wendy’s Board Chairman all last week during their Freedom Fast — are somehow unwelcome intruders in the fight for dignity and safety for women is downright absurd and unbelievably offensive.”

Farmworker women are 10 times more likely than other workers to experience sexual assault and harassment at work. The CIW has been organizing to end sexual harassment in the fields for the past ten years.

In regards to Wendy’s, the CIW has been fighting for them to sign the Fair Food Agreement since 2013. Wendy’s refuses to sign, and to pay the workers an additional one cent more a pound for the tomatoes they pick. The hunger strike held outside the office of Nelson Peltz’s,  Chairman of Wendy’s Board,  was a response to years of unsafe work conditions for the people who make it possible to have a tomato on Wendy’s hamburger.

Dozens of farmworker women fasted because enough is enough. It is long past due for Wendy’s to sign the Fair Food Agreement. The agreement, signed by numerous companies such as Burger King, Trader Joe’s, and Chipotle, creates higher labor standards and works to “eliminate the longstanding abuses that have plagued agriculture for generations,” according to the CIW.

Alyssa Milano of #TimesUp summed up how outrageous Wendy’s response was:

“And a final word of advice, Wendy’s: If you really want to get on the wrong side of the #TimesUp movement, keep using our name to attack and belittle farmworker women who are fighting to keep themselves and their sisters safe from rape in the fields.”

Wendy’s divide-and-conquer propaganda needs to be exposed and the farmworker women leading this struggle need support. They are asking all who are disgusted and outraged by Wendy’s statement to take to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to call out Wendy’s on their outrageous attack and declare #BoycottWendys until they join the Fair Food Program.

Related Articles

Back to top button