As part of a multi-city labor effort, a group calling itself the Philly Campaign for Fair Food plans to picket the Wendy's at 15th and Chestnut Sts., Center City, 1 pm Saturday -- during Wendy's "Founder's Week" -- to protest what it says is the chain's failure to join McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, and Taco Bell (Yum Brands) in the "Fair Food Program," which requires time clocks, a 1 cent a pound worker-bonus premium, and other labor conditions at Florida farms where the chains buy tomatoes.
Wendy's boss Emil Brolick previously signed onto the program, backed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida farm-labor group, when he was boss at Taco Bell in 2005 but has refused at his current chain, according to coalition spokesman Mitch Chanin.
Why not? "All of our suppliers in Florida have signed to comply with the Fair Food agreement covering health and safety issues, complaints and remediation. The only thing we haven't agreed to is to pay the additional penny," Bob Bertini, Wendy's spokesman, told me. "We don't think it's appropriate to directly pay the employees of our suppliers -- any supplier. But because of our high standards, we pay a premium now for the tomatoes we purchase from Florida. And we expect our suppliers to take care of compensation for their employees."