The organization that is always pestering fast food giants to pass some of their profits along to farm workers by paying $0.01 more for tomatoes has scored a major victory with McDonald’s. From BusinessWeek:
Under the agreement, a third party will verify that farmworkers who pick McDonald’s tomatoes will receive the increase. Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s will also require its suppliers to follow a workplace code of conduct that the workers would help create.
The deal involves payments for grape tomatoes that go on McDonald’s salads. McDonald’s USA spokesman William Whitman said the cost would not be passed on to consumers.
The group won a similiar concession from Taco Bell aftera 4-year boycott. Burger King was uninterested in paying more for tomatoes, claiming
“To ask Burger King Corporation to pay a penny more a pound for tomatoes to increase workers’ wages is similar to asking shoppers to voluntarily pay a penny more per pound at the grocery store for tomatoes to increase workers’ wages. Both Burger King Corporation and grocery store shoppers have no business relationship with the workers and cannot get the extra penny to them.”
Burger King then offered to send employment recruiters to the tomato farms. Most recently, Burger King has changed their buying habits to favor farms who put more emphasis on animal welfare.
McDonald’s had previously shared Burger King’s sentiments regarding the practicality of rewarding tomato farm workers, according to the AP:
McDonald’s had previously refused the coalition’s requests, maintaining it bought tomatoes through a third party and could not track where its produce came from. Instead, it sponsored a study — later discredited — that suggested farmworkers were paid more than twice the state’s minimum wage.