New Report: “Now the Fear Is Gone” highlights power of the FFP to fight sexual abuse and advance gender justice!…

Just three weeks out from the Freedom Fast and Time’s Up Wendy’s March in NYC, new report spotlights solution to national epidemic of sexual harassment and assault born in the fields of Florida…

Just as farmworker women from Immokalee — together with their male co-workers from the fields and allies from across the country — begin to prepare for next month’s five-day fast calling on Wendy’s to help end sexual violence in its supply chain by joining the Fair Food Program, the Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network has released an extensive report that underscores the urgency of the fasters’ cause and the unique power of their solution.

The new report, entitled “Now the Fear Is Gone: Advancing Gender Justice through WSR,” surveys “the abusive conditions that women farmworkers face daily in fields across the US, and spotlights the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program as a root-cause solution to gender-based violence in the workplace.”  Here’s an excerpt from the report’s Introduction:

Sexual abuse, harassment, and other gender-based violence is a threat to all women workers and an international crisis. It is a chronic assault on the humanity of women, undermines women’s health and productivity, and makes the workplace a hostile environment. No group of women suffer more than low-wage women workers. With little power and fewer resources, low-wage women workers often have no choice but to accept humiliating treatment, harassment, quid pro quo arrangements, and even assault simply to earn a meager living.

One of the most extreme examples is in US agriculture where sexual violence, abuse, and harassment is ubiquitous and severe. Over eighty percent of women farmworkers suffer sexual abuse and harassment. Even assault and the most extreme forms of harassment are so common that many women consider it unavoidable.

Despite its pervasiveness, however, sexual harassment is far from inevitable. One powerful solution has emerged in the profoundly male-dominated agricultural sector from what many would consider an unexpected source: A group of farmworkers in the small town of Immokalee, Florida. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization, has pioneered and successfully implemented an innovative model for protecting workers’ fundamental human rights—including freedom from sexual abuse and harassment—in practically the entire tomato industry on the Eastern seaboard… (read more)

The report’s release is particularly well-timed.  The upcoming Freedom Fast will lay bare the inherent immorality of Wendy’s business model when it comes to supply chain social responsibility, a model that turns its back on a groundbreaking solution like the Fair Food Program, and instead sources produce from an industry where sexual and economic exploitation are well-documented, widespread, and extreme.  In the words of the CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo, who is currently in New York organizing ahead of next month’s action:

“In the age of #MeToo, business leaders like Nelson Peltz must use their power to end sexual violence in their companies’ supply chains, and not hide behind a shroud of silence that prevents survivors of sexual violence from obtaining justice.  Next month, we will come to Mr. Peltz’s doorstep with a proven solution in hand.  Inaction in the face of a problem like sexual assault is unacceptable, but inaction in the face of a solution is unconscionable.”

Head over to the WSR Network’s website now to read the exciting new report in its entirety.  

Then get ready for next month’s week of action in New York City, where the battle for a more humane food industry will be joined once again, this time outside the hedge fund offices of Wendy’s Board Chair and largest shareholder, Mr. Nelson Peltz!