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UUSC Continues to Push Wendy’s to Honor Workers’ Rights

Last week, UUSC President & CEO Tom Andrews sent the following letter to Todd A. Penegor, head of the Wendy's Company, continuing our call for Wendy's to join on to this innovative, human-rights program.
White flag with "Fair Food" logo flying in front of a Wendy's fast food restaurant

By on March 21, 2017

White flag with "Fair Food" logo flying in front of a Wendy's fast food restaurantWendy’s is the last of the major U.S. fast food chains to refuse to join the Fair Food Program of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).

This Program improves pay and working conditions for farmworkers in the tomato fields through partnerships between businesses, growers, and farmworkers which ensure that the people who supply the produce used by the companies are treated with dignity and respect.

“Last week, in support of CIW’s Return to Human Rights Tour, UUSC President & CEO Tom Andrews sent the following letter to Todd A. Penegor, head of the Wendy’s Company, continuing our call for Wendy’s to join on to this innovative, human-rights program.

Mr. Todd A. Penegor
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Wendy’s Company
One Dave Thomas Boulevard
Dublin, OH 43017

March 9, 2017

Dear Mr. Penegor,

As the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a non-sectarian human rights organization, I stand proudly with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in calling on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program through their upcoming “Return to Human Rights Tour” and ongoing boycott. Signing onto the Fair Food Program is the only way for Wendy’s to follow through on its stated commitments to social responsibility and human rights.

As your Supplier Code of Conduct states: “People are our most valuable asset. Collectively, it is the respect and dignity we hold for each individual and value we place on trusted relationships that enables our mutual success. To that end, we take all human rights and labor practices issues seriously and expect the same from our Suppliers.” Such a statement rings hollow, given your company’s decision to abandon your tomato suppliers in Florida and to shift your tomato purchases to Mexico, where human rights violations are rampant, in order to avoid the pressure to join the Fair Food Program.

Moreover, the recent updates to the Wendy’s Supplier Code of Conduct do not go far enough. The vague promises of “third party reviews” of only certain produce suppliers fall short of what is required for Wendy’s to make good on its claims of “respect and dignity” for each individual or its commitment to human rights. Third party audits give workers little or no voice to raise their concerns, and fail to address the violations that happen outside the timeframe during which the audit is conducted. The shortcomings of your recent updates are made even more glaring given that the Fair Food Program has, time and time again, been recognized as the benchmark for the protection of human rights in corporate supply-chains. There is no need for vague promises of third party reviews, when an internationally renowned program already exists.

The time has come for Wendy’s to make good on its promises of respecting human rights and sign onto the Fair Food Program, as so many of your competitors already have. Until Wendy’s gets with the Program, UUSC will continue to stand with CIW in calling on Wendy’s to finally make good on its promises to respect human rights.

Sincerely,

Hon. Thomas Andrews
President and Chief Executive Officer
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

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