Andrew Cockburn at Harper's Magazine:
According to the Washington Post, guests on Donald Trump’s luxurious personal 757 jet—gold-plated seat-belt buckles!—who get peckish and order a burger are served Wendy’s. It would have to be Wendy’s. No other food chain strives so hard to avoid buying tomatoes from Florida, where they are almost guaranteed to have been picked by immigrants, a policy surely appealing to Trump. Admittedly, the tomatoes in question are quite possibly picked by a worker confined in conditions of near slavery, paid minimal amounts and forced to scavenge for food, but at least he or she is not an immigrant working in this country.
To understand the background to the Wendy’s guarantee, we have to go back to the beginning of the century, when a workers’ rights group in Florida, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, pioneered an innovative and effective strategy. Agricultural workers are a traditionally exploited group, excluded from the National Labor Relations Act, the New Deal law enshrining basic workers’ rights such as collective bargaining. Conditions have been especially dire for the men and women, almost entirely immigrants from Mexico and Central America, who picked the Florida fruit and vegetable crops. In 2001, tomato pickers were still being paid the forty cents per thirty-two-pound bucket of tomatoes that they were two decades earlier. (Some received nothing at all. When I visited Immokalee in 2001, the C.I.W. had just uncovered a slave camp nestled between a Ramada Inn and a retirement community in the little town of Lake Placid, the fifth such operation busted by the Coalition in the past six years. Inmates who tried to escape risked beatings or worse.