“Schooling Wendy’s” on Fair Food: 20+ cities across raise the volume in campaign against Wendy’s…



“Students across the country will be boycotting Wendy’s and getting our universities to cut ties with Wendy’s until they do the right thing by farmworkers…”

It’s official:  The fall season is here!  And the Fair Food Nation’s students and young people across the country are ready.

Throughout last week’s “Schooling Wendy’s” Week of Action, Wendy’s stores in over 20 cities across the country — from San Diego to Austin to Providence — were visited by scores of consumers with one simple message:  It’s about time for Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program!  

And so, in addition to our report last week on the creative, high-energy protests in Austin and Orlando, we bring you today three more exciting reports from the 20+ actions that took place all over the country!

First up, students from Georgetown University in Washington, DC harnessed the buzz and energy of the start of classes (and therefore the increased foot traffic!) to spread the word about the student boycott of Wendy’s in the heart of the historic campus.   Almost without exception, students who paused to learn about the Fair Food Program — and about Wendy’s stubborn, two-year-long refusal to support the Presidential medal-winning human rights program — eagerly signed up to boycott the fast food giant (check out the full album on Facebook):


Meanwhile, over in Columbus, Ohio — the birthplace not only of Wendy’s, but also of the Boot the Braids Campaign and the student-led national boycott — students at Ohio State University marched from Mirror Lake on campus to the university Wendy’s.  The Columbus Free Press caught wind of the protest, and headed over to campus to cover the event:

Ohio State Students ‘School’ Wendy’s in Fair Labor Practices 101


In the fight for fair labor practices in the U.S. food industry, grass-roots organizing by conscientious consumers has been taking an increasing role. A case in point is Friday afternoon, when a dozen members of the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) gathered at Mirror Lake on the OSU campus and marched to the Wendy’s restaurant in the Wexner Medical Center as part of the “Schooling Wendy’s” national week of action.

“Our march to Wendy’s today is one of over 20 marches, letter deliveries, and demonstrations at campuses across the country — campuses with Wendy’s on campus and near campus — to tell Wendy’s to listen to what students and farmworkers are asking them to do: join the Fair Food Program,” said SFA member Ben Wibking.  “Until then, students across the country will be boycotting Wendy’s and getting our universities to cut ties with Wendy’s until they do the right thing by farmworkers.”

For decades, farm laborers in Florida have harvested tomatoes and other fresh produce for stagnant, sub-poverty wages, under harsh working conditions. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program begins at the top of the food supply chain, with consumers who demand that large food retailers source their produce only from growers who pay fair wages and treat their workers in accordance with national and international human rights standards — including a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment.

“Tens of thousands of Florida farmworkers are experiencing never-before-seen rights as a result of the Fair Food Program,” said Santiago Perez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. “We seek now to continue to expand those basic human rights protections to the hundreds of thousands of workers beyond the tomato fields and beyond Florida — but Wendy’s participation in the Program is essential to that expansion.”

OSU_Wendys_3Student activists have been engaged in the struggle for farmworker rights since 2005, when they had an essential role in the CIW’s first successful campaign with Taco Bell. “As students and educators go back to school, we in Columbus are more conscious than ever of the many ways Wendy’s has failed to make the grade with regard to farmworker rights: dignified wages and working conditions, the prevention of violence and forced labor, and respect for workers’ voices, to name a few,” said SFA member Amanda Ferguson. “As students, we will not stop our call to Wendy’s until they join the proven solution to farmworker abuses in their supply chain.”

Of the five largest fast food corporations in the United States, only Wendy’s has refused to sign an agreement the CIW to bring fair pay and safe working conditions to farmworkers.

The Wendy’s Week of Action was not confined to university campuses, however!  Up the East Coast, dozens of members of Providence Fair Food headed out to their local Wendy’s for a protest and letter delivery (in spite of the cold!).  Led by students from Brown University and joined by Fuerza Laboral (below), the lively picket ended in a delegation into the store itself, punctuated with chants of “Up! Up! With the Fair Food Nation!” 



And those were just a few of the 20+ actions on Wendy’s doorstep all through last week.  Make sure to stay tuned over at the Student / Farmworker Alliance website in the days to come for more report backs from Lakeland, Gainesville, Miami, and more!

Wendy’s Week of Action off with a bang! Actions kick off in Orlando, Austin…

“We plan to fight until Wendy’s agrees to respect the dignity of the farmworkers its business depends on…”And, they’re off!  Starting last Sunday, the Student / Farmworker Alliance — cheered on by the rest of the Alliance for Fair Food — kicked off the National “Schooling Wendy’s” Week of Action.  Although we’ll be sharing the full round up after the jam-packed week wraps up this Sunday, we couldn’t help but share a few highlights at halftime!  Down here in Florida, we started off the week with a high-spirited picket at a Wendy’s in Orlando, along with 30+ local allies from YAYA-NFWM and Orlando’s two Unitarian […]

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Florida United Methodist Church calls on Publix for dialogue, action on Fair Food without further delay!

“…I am writing to inform you of the Florida United Methodist Conference’s resolute call to Publix to join the Fair Food Program and to take part in the expansion of long-denied human rights of farmworkers…” Back in June of 2015, the six-year campaign to bring Publix into the Fair Food Program was marked with a major victory in the halls of the Florida United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Those gathered, representing over 700 congregations, voted overwhelmingly for a measure calling on Publix to join the Fair Food Program.  We shared a blow-by-blow report of the historic vote (which you can read in full here), […]

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ACTION ALERT! Student / Farmworker Alliance calls on network for Wendy’s Week of Action!

Students to “school Wendy’s on the many ways the fast-food joint has failed to make the grade”…With the academic year now in full swing — and in the wake of the energizing 2015 Encuentro — the Student / Farmworker Alliance is kicking off the school season with its first national Week of Action!  Next week, from Sunday, September 27th to Sunday, October 4th, the SFA is calling on the Alliance for Fair Food network — students and Fair Food allies of all stripes alike — to take action at Wendy’s stores across the country.Straight from the young women and men of the SFA network, here […]

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Lakeland students to Publix: “We will not continue to let this happen where Publix has its headquarters!”

Dozens of Lakeland community members and Southeastern University students watch “Food Chains,” lead candlelight vigil outside Publix store in company’s hometown…In a powerful evening of reflection and action, students and community members of the central Florida city of Lakeland, Florida — Publix’s corporate hometown and the site of six years’ worth of Fair Food marches, rallies, and fasts — gathered to express their displeasure at Publix’s continued refusal to join the Fair Food Program.  We have first-hand report and beautiful photos from the screening and evening vigil, which we are happy to be able to share with you below:This past Thursday, in a classroom […]

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Watch out, Wendy’s! 100+ Encuentro participants, farmworkers protest for Fair Food…

CIW members, students: “Maybe Wendy’s will continue to refuse to be a part of the Program today — but every day, there are more and more of us, and someday, Wendy’s will sign…”This past weekend, after months of planning and preparation, the Student / Farmworker Alliance hosted the 11th annual Encuentro in Immokalee, where students and young people from around the country gathered for a weekend to lay out a year’s worth plans for the Campaign for Fair Food. Of course, being members of the Fair Food Nation, the weekend’s participants also worked in a bit of action amidst all […]

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A cautionary tale: Farmworker women win massive judgment in sexual assault, retaliation case against Florida farm…

EEOC case a powerful reminder of:1) The ongoing epidemic of sexual violence in Florida’s fields outside the bounds of the Fair Food Program, and2) The hypocrisy of retailers and the failure of the corporate social responsibility approach to stop the violence.Last Friday’s announcement of a massive jury verdict in favor of five farmworker women who filed sexual assault and retaliation complaints against Moreno Farms (a small, now defunct eggplant, tomato, and squash farm outside of Immokalee) provides a valuable moment for reflection on the urgent need for justice in Florida’s fields and the failure of existing systems — from the […]

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Labor Day picket kicks off fall season for Campaign for Fair Food!

“… It is with these very hands that I supply the tomatoes that you use, from which you profit…”On Monday, we shared a powerful reflection on the global movement for workers’ human rights and the Fair Food Program’s worker-driven, market-powered model — but that was not the CIW’s only commemoration of Labor Day 2015! This past Sunday, Florida farmworkers and their families celebrated the holiday with a lively protest in front of a local Publix supermarket.The high-spirited action was led by the CIW women’s group, and bolstered by the presence of a diverse group of allies from across southwest Florida, […]

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Labor Day Reflection: “Why Consumers Matter in Realizing Workers’ Rights…”

 CIW, NESRI and WRC publish reflection in Huffington Post on consumers’ power to demand workers’ rights at home, abroad…Labor Day is a day we set aside to celebrate the contributions of workers, across the country and around the globe, to the ever growing richness of our daily lives. From delicious fruits and vegetables available in stores year round, to gadgets affordable to the working man and woman that only the wealthiest among us could have dreamed of owning just years ago, the world of abundance enjoyed by even the average consumer today was simply unimaginable to past generations. Labor can […]

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Customer to Publix: “I don’t like Publix’s hardnosed position on farmworkers”…

 Tipping Point Encore: From Florida to New Jersey, consumers continue to applaud recent advances of Fair Food Program, decry failure of remaining corporate holdouts to get on board…Even though we’ve already wrapped up our Tipping Point series — capping off a week of letters and articles from consumers with a round-up of tweets for Publix — messages from the Fair Food Nation continue to stream in! So, once again, we’d like to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to share two excellent examples of such letters from the past week, one a note from a longtime shopper right here in Florida […]

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U.S. State Department 2015 Anti-Slavery Heroes visit Immokalee!

“TIP” Heroes share struggles to combat modern-day slavery across the globe with farmworkers in Immokalee, learn about Fair Food Program and worker-led efforts to defend fundamental human rights…Every year, thousands of engaged, dedicated individuals — people of all faiths, campus leaders, human rights activists, award-winning authors, and journalists — come through the small, dusty town of Immokalee to learn about the CIW and the Fair Food Program, as well as to share their own efforts for justice with CIW members. Two weeks ago, however, we were fortunate enough to host some very special visitors whose contributions to the global human […]

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Tipping Point FINALE! #FairFoodNation takes the call for Fair Food to Twitter…

 Using #MyPublixStory hashtag, consumers revisit six-year Publix campaign history, demand commitment to Fair Food…For the past week, we have been sharing highlights from the flood of letters, emails, and articles by consumers who can no longer countenance the empty excuses from Publix, Kroger, and Wendy’s for refusing to join the Fair Food Program.  Today, we bring you the grand finale of the “Tipping Point” series with a collectively-crafted, powerful message for Publix from consumer allies — on Twitter.First, a little background.  Recently, Publix launched a new campaign on social media dubbed #MyPublixStory, an effort to collect glowing consumer anecdotes about their favorite personal experiences at the Florida-based supermarket. […]

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Tipping Point: Ahold signing, CBS Sunday Morning story pull rug out from under Publix, Kroger, Wendy’s in their fight to turn back Fair Food!

  Amidst ever-brighter spotlight on success of Fair Food Program, consumers increasingly fed up with retailers’ empty excuses…It has been a mighty fine fortnight for farmworkers.  Between last month’s groundbreaking Fair Food agreement with Ahold USA and this past weekend’s powerful, in-depth report from CBS Sunday Morning seen by millions of viewers across the nation, the future of the Fair Food Program has never looked brighter.  And if the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to the latest news — as seen on Twitter, on Facebook, and over email — is any indication, it is becoming increasingly clear that an ever-growing number of mainstream consumers stand with farmworkers, forward-thinking growers and responsible retailers in their collaborative […]

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CBS News Sunday Morning: “How the Fair Food Program is making a difference for struggling migrant farm workers…”

 Following powerful CBS story, viewers take to social media to call out Publix for “unconscionable” refusal to join FFP…Yesterday morning, as they do every week, millions of viewers across the U.S. tuned into CBS News Sunday Morning, but this time they were in for a rare treat on network television: an excellent, in-depth report on the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  Brought to us by correspondent Mark Strassmann and producer Mark Hudspeth, the piece traced the hard-fought transformation of Florida’s fields from the “Harvest of Shame” days in 1960 to what is being called the best working environment in American agriculture in the New York Times today. The CBS Sunday Morning […]

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MUST WATCH VIDEO: CBS Sunday Morning, ​”The Growing Demand for Fair Food”…

 This morning, CBS Sunday Morning aired an excellent, in-depth report on the Fair Food Program — in case you missed it at 9:00 AM, here above is the Fair Food segment in full!Check back tomorrow for more on the news program as well as highlights from the overwhelming positive responses on Facebook, Twitter, email and more… 

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THIS SUNDAY: CBS News Sunday Morning to feature Fair Food Program!

 Peabody Award-winning morning news show to broadcast feature on Fair Food Program, agreement with Ahold USA!We’ve just received the exciting news that tomorrow, Sunday, August 9th, the Fair Food Program will be the featured “cover story” on the venerable CBS News show Sunday Morning, one of the country’s most-watched news programs with an audience of over 6.5 million viewers!  The show will air at 9 AM on the east coast.  Check here to find your local station and show times (west coast times may vary).Coming just a few weeks after last month’s groundbreaking Fair Food agreement with Ahold USA — the first major U.S. grocery chain to join the Fair […]

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