Demonstrators ask: What would their founder do?
Protestors descended upon the Wendy’s at 9th Ave. and High St. on the Ohio State University campus on Saturday, November 16 to demand that the Dublin-based corporation join the Fair Food Program. Of the five largest fast food companies in the country, Wendy’s is the only holdout against the Program. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has built an historic partnership between farmworkers, tomato growers and eleven leading food corporations based on human rights, dignity and developing a sustainable tomato industry. A boisterous, chanting crowd with drums and megaphones demanded the end to substandard poverty wages. Signs called for Wendy’s to pay one penny more a pound to benefit the workers. The prevailing piece rate today for tomato workers is 50 cents for every 32 pounds of tomatoes harvested. This rate has changed little since 1980. Speaker Ruben Herrera pointed out “A worker today must pick nearly 2.5 tons of tomatoes in a typical 10-hour day in order to make minimum wage.” The nearly 200 demonstrators, representing numerous student from Denison and Ohio State Universities, marched from High Street along a mile and half route to another Wendy’s franchise on Olentangy River Road. Along the way, they chanted “No justice, no peace!” and “No justice, no burgers!” The colorful march brought several “Honks for Justice.” The Columbus protest coincided with Wendy’s celebration of “Founder’s Week” which was November 10-17, 2013. The company was celebrating the core values of their founder, Dave Thomas. Many protestors held signs urging Wendy’s to celebrate Thomas’ values by committing to the Fair Food Program and agreeing to pay one more penny per pound of tomatoes to give Immokalee workers their first wage increase in more than thirty years. Emilio Faustino Galindo, who worked 16 years as a farmworker, told the crowd through an interpreter that their actions are working to destroy modern day slavery and the denial of fundamental human rights.

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