From March 11th to 15th, Lupe Gonzalo, a leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, will be on a liquids-only “Freedom Fast.” The goal? To pressure Wendy’s, the only major fast food restaurant chain to refuse to adopt regulations to protect farmworkers from sexual harassment, wage theft, and other unfair labor practices in the tomato fields of southwest Florida. Gonzalo will be joined by dozens of workers and their families, as well as allies from diverse religious and secular communities, all of them united in demanding respect for the workers who plant our crops and harvest our fruits and vegetables.
The protest will take place at the Park Avenue office of Nelson Peltz, Wendy’s board chair and a founding partner of Trian Fund Management, a New York City-based investment fund. According to Forbes Magazine, the 74-year-old Peltz has a net worth of $1.51 billion; in addition to Wendy’s, he is at present on the boards of Proctor & Gamble, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Sysco Systems.
To date, he has refused to negotiate with—or even meet—members of the CIW or supporters of the organization.
Gonzalo recently spoke with Eleanor J. Bader about the CIW, the upcoming hunger strike, and the progress that has been made since the Coalition was founded in 1993.
Patricia Cipollitti, National Co-coordinator of the Alliance for Fair Food, a consumer group, provided Spanish-to-English translation for the 90-minute interview.