Wendy’s slogan is “Old fashioned hamburgers,” but the signs outside its shareholder meeting at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown last Thursday read “Old fashioned exploitation,” carried by about a dozen rabbis protesting the corporation’s failure to sign onto the Fair Food Program.

An initiative of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and allied groups, the program consists of a code of conduct and a wage increase for tomato workers supported with a price premium paid by corporate purchasers such as, say Wendy’s.

“The high degree of consolidation in the food industry today means that multibillion-dollar brands on the retail end of the industry are able to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand ever-lower prices, which has resulted in downward pressure on farmworker wages,” writes the coalition on its website.

McDonald’s signed on in 2007; Burger King and Subway in 2008; Trader Joe’s and Chipotle in 2012. Six other major food companies have signed as well, but not Wendy’s, which is why T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights gathered some of its members to bear witness outside the company’s swanky shareholder meeting.

This winter, 100 T’ruah rabbis signed a letter to the company asking them to get with the Fair Food Program, said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, T’ruah’s director of North American programs.

helen@jewishweek.org