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Farmworkers walk through Palm Beach County to seek better working conditions, pay

Rep. Frankel joins group in pressuring food companies
Farmworkers march on Tuesday in Pahokee to Palm Beach on Saturday in seeking better pay and working conditions.
Posted at 5:15 PM, Mar 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-18 20:05:15-04

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Farmworkers walked 45 miles in five days through South Florida.

Starting Tuesday, they marched from Pahokee, where they work for low pay and abusive condition, to Palm Beach where Wendy's President Nelson Peltz live.

Farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee say they were walking to highlight their Fair Food Program, which ensures farmworkers are guaranteed better working conditions and pay. Cmpanies involved in the program include McDonald's, Walmart and Taco Bell.

The goal of the march was to pressure other companies, including Publix, Kroger and Wendy's, to join the program.

"It is time for them to use their power and join onto the program so that we can expand the protections and eliminate this once and for all," Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, a member of Coalition of Immokalee Workers, said. "Modern-day slavery shouldn’t exist today."

U.S. Rep Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who joined in the march, said: "We have to eat to stay alive and we should make sure these workers are paid fairly and in just conditions. This is about encouraging all our local merchants to participate in the fair food program and that’s really going to ensure safer conditions. And we can eat with a smile on our face."

WPTV reached out to Publix and Kroger for comment but have not heard back.

A spokesperson for Wendy's said in a statement:

"Wendy’s does not participate in the Fair Food Program because there is no nexus between the program and our supply chain.

Since 2019, Wendy’s has sourced our North American tomato supply exclusively from indoor, hydroponic greenhouse farms, while the Fair Food Program predominantly operates in outdoor, conventional tomato growing environments. Further, Wendy’s has an established Supplier Code of Conduct that applies to significant suppliers of The Wendy’s Company and our North America restaurant system, and we also require third-party reviews related to the human rights and labor practices for suppliers of certain hand-harvested, whole, fresh produce such as tomatoes.

"The idea that joining the Fair Food Program, and purchasing field-grown, commodity tomatoes, is the only way that Wendy’s can demonstrate responsibility in our supply chain is not true."
Wendy's spokesperson