Political Science girl talking here. The politics and social justice issues behind Wendy’s are real and something that not many people know about. As an activist for a higher minimum wage and basic human rights, I refuse to eat at Wendy’s, and this is why.
A large organization, called the Fair Food Alliance, that has won 14 legally binding agreements with large companies, such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Walmart, guarantees farmworkers’ rights, who are now being paid a livable wage. However, there are a select few companies who refuse to sign on, and the most notable one? Wendy’s.
College campuses are a hub for social and political activism, so, unless your campus has a Wendy’s, it is unlikely you have heard of this issue. UNC-Chapel Hill has seen many protests and marches regarding Wendy’s refusal to sign on to the Fair Food Alliance. Boycotting Wendy’s is a real movement, and it’s one that needs to be followed.
The federal minimum wage in 2020 is $7.25. In 2010, the minimum wage was $7.25. This is not a livable wage, as it has not adjusted with inflation. Wendy’s purchases tomatoes from a farm in Florida that employs roughly 35,000 laborers. Not only are these farmworkers getting paid less than minimum wage, but they are also experiencing instances of modern-day slavery and sexual assault.
Many college campuses, specifically UNC-CH, have pushed university administrators to cut ties with Wendy’s on campus. Many campus Wendy’s establishments have argued that they purchase tomatoes, which is the biggest area of concern, from Aramark, rather than from farms practicing modern-day slavery.
The spicy nuggets are not worth it, babes. Wendy’s corporate Twitter account may be funny, but is it any coincidence that the company’s humor on Twitter peaked around the same time Wendy’s was being questioned for not joining the Fair Food Alliance? Wendy’s is silent on the issue and more focused on humoring other food chains on social media.
Do not fall for the Twitter humor because the treatment of Wendy’s farmworkers is not funny. Minimum wage is not a reasonable pay to live on in today’s society, and pay below minimum wage is a form of dehumanization. Farm work is no easy task, and it involves long hours and hard labor. The labor of farmworkers is worth much more than minimum wage.
Babes, drop the spicy nuggets. The happiness of your tastebuds should not cost farmworkers a living wage. Boycott Wendy’s and obtain your fast food from an organization that recognizes the rights and lives of its farmworkers. Somewhere out there, a farmworker will thank you.