Organizers Rally to Promote Fair Food Program

Source: Presbyterian Mission

As part of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.’s ongoing campaign to address systemic food insecurity, the Presbyterian Hunger Program partnered with other organizations on April 2 to rally support to pressure the fast-food chain Wendy’s to join a growing national movement program to help protect farmworkers.

Led by Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the rally is intended to raise awareness about the Fair Food Program, a worker-led monitoring and enforcement program that was started by CIW to help prevent human rights abuses against farmworkers.

“We’re talking about a population that is mostly foreign born and learning English, often as a second or third language, (and) one of the most discriminated against and exploited sectors in the whole country,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, a PHP staffer supporting the march. “Yet, they’ve been able to achieve amazing things because of their brilliant strategizing, their gorgeous artwork and energized rallies.”

Fast-food chains that have already joined include McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Considered the gold standard for protecting farmworkers, the coalition in the past few years gained a reputation for advocating against forced labor, sexual violence and other human rights abuses in food retailer supply chains.

“It is appalling that Wendy’s has refused to commit the fast-food chain to the Fair Food Program’s best-in-class protections for nearly a decade, and especially now, given the horrific rise of modern slavery cases in North American agriculture,” said Nely Rodriguez, senior staff member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, in a news release. “On April 2, we’re marching with a simple question for Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz: Can Wendy’s guarantee there is no slavery in it is supply chain?”

Within the past few decades, law enforcement has uncovered multiple forced labor operations on farms operating in the United States. Just last November, the U.S. Justice Department announced in November the indictments of 24 defendants on felony charges, stemming from an investigation into human smuggling and labor trafficking and conditions that included subjecting illegally imported workers to “brutal conditions” on farms in south Georgia – a stark reminder of why advocacy is still needed.As of April 8, 2022, Wendy’s has not formally joined the Fair Food Program but has entered into talks with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. For more information on how you can support this effort, visit https://fairfoodprogram.org/.

Source: Presbyterian Mission