In a peaceful march led by Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy, hundreds protested the low wages for tomato pickers who supply the fast food industry during a 10-day demonstration.
The march, which brought the protestors to the home of billionaire Wendy’s chairman Nelson Peltz, was an effort to convince Wendy’s to sign the Fair Food Program, which protects the rights of field workers, alongside chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Farm workers were also advocating for an additional penny-per-pound for tomatoes to supplement their wages.
Currently, tomato harvesters make an average of $10,000 during the six-month tomato season, or 50 cents for every 32-pound basket of tomatoes, according to CBS News. If Wendy’s joins the program, field workers could make between $20 and $150 more in each weekly paycheck.
Out of the five largest fast food companies — Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and Taco Bell — Wendy’s is the only chain that has not yet joined the Fair Food Program. Protestors — some of whom visited Peltz’s office in New York, and others who protested in front of Wendy’s Ohio headquarters — are hopeful that their peaceful demonstrations will inspire Peltz to use his influence as Wendy’s board member to make a change.
“He has the power to bring Wendy’s to the (bargaining) table,” one farm worker, Leonel Perez, told the Palm Beach Post through a translator.