Pushing Wendy’s On Tomato Prices


Wendy’s slogan is “Old fashioned hamburgers,” but the signs outside its shareholder meeting at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown last Thursday read “Old fashioned exploitation,” carried by about a dozen rabbis protesting the corporation’s failure to sign onto the Fair Food Program.

An initiative of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and allied groups, the program consists of a code of conduct and a wage increase for tomato workers supported with a price premium paid by corporate purchasers such as, say Wendy’s.

“The high degree of consolidation in the food industry today means that multibillion-dollar brands on the retail end of the industry are able to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand ever-lower prices, which has resulted in downward pressure on farmworker wages,” writes the coalition on its website.

McDonald’s signed on in 2007; Burger King and Subway in 2008; Trader Joe’s and Chipotle in 2012. Six other major food companies have signed as well, but not Wendy’s, which is why T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights gathered some of its members to bear witness outside the company’s swanky shareholder meeting.

This winter, 100 T’ruah rabbis signed a letter to the company asking them to get with the Fair Food Program, said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, T’ruah’s director of North American programs.