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Wendy’s Boycott Summit kickstarts campaign organizing for the year ahead!

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80+ students, people of faith, and consumers of conscience gather for the first-ever Wendy’s Boycott Summit;

Weekend of strategic planning highlighted by a boisterous Southwest Florida Wendy’s protest, with over 150 farmworkers and consumers kicking-off a calendar chockfull of action in the months ahead!

This past weekend, nearly 90 allies from across the Alliance for Fair Food’s vibrant national network of people of faith, students, youth, food justice advocates, and grassroots organizations came together in Immokalee for a successful, first-ever Wendy’s Boycott Summit.  Hailing from nearly twenty different states and from dozens of high schools, universities, congregations, and community organizations from coast to coast, participants gathered in the heart of the movement for Fair Food to develop skills, build relationships and, most importantly, forge a strategy for victory in the Wendy’s Boycott.

The Summit weekend began on Friday with a warm welcome by the CIW’s women’s group, who then led an inspiring reflection on the importance of planting seeds of consciousness, so that we may harvest the fruits of justice.

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Over the next couple of days, participants dove into skill-building workshops about community organizing, press, art, and more; campaign history sessions drew insightful connections between the seminal Taco Bell boycott and the current boycott of Wendy’s; and group discussions reflected on the importance of standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight for farmworker justice.

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Strategy development sessions made up the heart of the weekend, during which participants split into breakout discussions based on geographical region and constituency.  

As students made plans for strengthening and growing the Boot the Braids campaign to cut university contracts with on-campus Wendy’s – including at The Ohio State University in Wendy’s hometown of Columbus, OH – people from the nine Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions present strategized to mobilize their congregations and institutions to take action and provide support for the Wendy’s Boycott.  Fair Food Groups based in cities across the country also put their heads together to map out a vision for even stronger local organizing at the regional level.

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On Saturday, the group loaded onto buses and headed into Naples, where they were met by dozens more Southwest Florida-area allies and an energetic contingent of farmworkers and their families from Immokalee to picket outside a prominent Wendy’s location — swelling to a crowd of over 150 protesters along the highly-trafficked Highway 41!  We, of course, couldn’t possibly pick just one or two photos from the action, so here is a short gallery from the lively Saturday protest:

The Summit weekend concluded with participants conscious, committed, and ready to hit the ground running with a long, concrete list of action plans to take back to their home groups and turn up the heat on Wendy’s!

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And this is just the beginning:  The upcoming Behind the Braids fall regional tours and national weekend of action, which will bring the boycott to thousands of consumers in over 20 cities, is launching this very weekend.  In the face of a powerful season ahead in the Wendy’s Boycott, with action after action springing from congregations and classrooms alike across the nation, it’s only a matter of time before Wendy’s sees the light and joins the Fair Food Program! 

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The Fair Food Sustainer Program takes off!

… and now we need to keep the momentum going!“This Program should be everywhere and cover everything… When are you coming to Tennessee?”“…this Program really has power… but [in order for it to keep growing] we all have to work together.”– Worker feedback from recent Fair Food Program human rights education sessions Over the course of the past two summers, the CIW’s worker-to-worker education team has been on the front lines of expanding the Fair Food Program’s protections to thousands of farmworkers in new states and new crops.  With the growth of the Program, more and more workers — from those picking tomatoes on farms from Georgia to New […]

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PHOTO REPORT: Celebration in Immokalee!

CIW members gather to celebrate independence holidays of Mexico, Central America, and mark beginning of Florida tomato season…With the start of the 2016-2017 tomato season right around the corner, farmworkers and their families are making their way back to Immokalee after a long, hot summer of following the tomato harvest.  And for the second year in a row, Immokalee workers were not alone in their annual trek north: Tomato pickers in six states along the East Coast received visits from the Fair Food Program’s CIW education team this summer, learning about their fundamental human rights on northern FFP farms.  This past Sunday — as happens this time every September — […]

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CALL TO ACTION: Become a founding member of the Fair Food Sustainer Program!

Together, we fought to make the dream of enforceable human rights for farmworkers a reality.Now, we need your support to bring these critical human rights to thousands of workers in new crops and regions.Become a Fair Food Sustainer now.Are you ready to do the impossible… again?Fifteen years ago, a small group of farmworkers and consumers stood on the side of State Road 41 in Ft. Myers, Florida, carrying an oversized papier-mâché tomato.  They gathered there, squeezed between strip malls and rush-hour traffic, to declare a national boycott of Taco Bell.Outside of Florida, only a handful of people had ever heard […]

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PHOTO REPORT: No Labor Day holiday respite for Wendy’s!

Over long weekend, farmworkers, communities of faith across the country celebrate holiday with powerful message for fast food giant…Keeping with a longstanding tradition, the Fair Food Nation celebrated Labor Day last week the way it was intended: In action!  From Boston, Massachusetts, to Columbus, Ohio, and sunny Immokalee, Florida, consumers turned a spotlight on the back-breaking, invaluable work of farm laborers, and on Wendy’s unconscionable failure to do its part to protect farmworkers’ dignity and fundamental human rights.  After a week of receiving report after inspiring report, we’ve put together a slideshow to showcase the powerful message from the streets and the congregations and temples of the Fair Food Nation on Labor Day Weekend. […]

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BREAKING: Farmworkers, allies announce ‘Behind the Braids’ national truth tours, weekend of action this fall!

This fall, farmworkers and their Fair Food allies will embark on six regional tours to reveal the ugly reality of farmworker exploitation behind Wendy’s façade of social responsibility…Fueled by the latest surge in support for the Wendy’s boycott – including last week’s endorsement by the National Council of Churches and the nearly 50,000 petition signatures on Change.org – farmworkers in Immokalee are ready to hit the road this fall with the truth about Wendy’s and its callous disregard for human rights!Starting the first week of October, just as the harvest season begins here in Immokalee, CIW members will join thousands of consumer […]

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National Council of Churches, Robert F. Kennedy Center endorse Wendy’s Boycott!

Human rights leaders continue to line up behind growing fast food boycott…Also: Great job, everyone…  Signatures on change.org Wendy’s Boycott petition almost double overnight, nearing 50,000!!Even as thousands of consumers continue to add their names daily to the fast-growing Wendy’s Boycott petition, the movement to bring the fast-food giant into the Fair Food fold gained two more high profile institutional endorsements this past week — the National Council of Churches and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights!We are proud to say that we have a longstanding and close relationship with both of these prestigious organizations, whose voices command great respect in the national […]

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Wendy’s Boycott goes viral! Change.org petition at 42,000 and growing by the minute…

CALL TO ACTION:  Take the Wendy’s Boycott petition to the next level on social media…Just two short weeks ago, Change.org launched a Wendy’s boycott petition, providing a fresh opportunity for Wendy’s to see just how badly it’s polling with consumers over its unconscionable decision to turn its back on farmworkers’ rights.  And if the 42,000+ new consumers that have joined the Wendy’s boycott across the country in just two weeks are any measure, Wendy’s is sinking fast!In the weeks ahead, Wendy’s will be watching as these petition numbers continue to rise, feeling the heat as more and more consumers sign up to boycott the hamburger giant.  We need to make sure […]

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Summer campers join Wendy’s Boycott, gather 100+ signatures to send to fast food hold-out!

Camp Kinderland — “Summer camp with a conscience”! — takes on Wendy’s with letter, petition to CEO Todd Penegor…Yesterday afternoon, we were surprised and thrilled to open a very special note at the CIW Community Center here in Immokalee.  The letter inside began thusly:We are writing from Camp Kinderland, a children’s camp in Massachusetts.  Each year, our children participate in a Peace Olympics, in which they learn about the issues of social justice in the United States and around the world.  This year, our theme was “My country is the Earth and I am a citizen of the world.”  One of our topics […]

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Strategize, organize… TAKE ACTION! Wendy’s Boycott Summit to set the stage for a huge 2016-17 season ahead…

Fair Food Nation in full-swing as preparations for September’s exciting Wendy’s Boycott Summit ramp up…After a summer marked by a steady drumbeat of high level endorsements, momentum in the Wendy’s Boycott is growing, and the Fair Food Nation is stirring into action!  Hot on the heels of the launch of Change.org’s Wendy’s Boycott Petition earlier this week, next month’s Wendy’s Boycott Summit is rapidly approaching.The participant list is growing daily, with representatives from every corner of the social justice world on the roster:  Faith leaders from nearly a dozen denominations and faith traditions, students and young people from universities and colleges from coast to coast, worker leaders transforming low-wage industries across the country, union […]

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BREAKING ACTION: Change.org launches Wendy’s Boycott petition!

“Today, we need you to tell Wendy’s that if they want your business, they must join the Fair Food Program…”Today, Change.org — one of the giants of online social justice with over 100 million petition starters and supporters in more than 196 countries — has turned its formidable spotlight on Wendy’s!Nearly six months since the launch of the Wendy’s Boycott in March of 2016, the hamburger giant remains deaf to the calls of countless consumers who have protested at Wendy’s stores across the country, marched en masse to the corporation’s very doorstep, phoned and emailed Wendy’s executives, and, of course, pledged to boycott Wendy’s until the fast-food holdout joins the Fair […]

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National religious leader, Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, slams major Wendy’s ad in New York Times…

Wendy’s ad “deeply troubling, as it highlights a meticulous process for developing a new product in which the human beings who actually pick and serve the product are a mere garnish…”Over the weekend, visitors to the New York Times website were greeted with a sleek, high-value Wendy’s advertisement in the form of a “paid post,” an extended format report on the development of a new blackberry salad that blurred the lines between reporting and marketing.  While less informed readers might have fallen for Wendy’s glossy tale of concern for how its blackberries are treated, for the countless consumers boycotting Wendy’s precisely because of […]

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“Dear Wendy’s: I’m Boycotting You, but I’m Not the One You Should Be Worried About…”

Wendy’s gets stern talking to from online news hub Talk Poverty…Just this morning, Wendy’s got an earful on the Talk Poverty blog, a hub for news and data on the fight to end poverty and promote a just society run by the Center for American Progress.  And the hamburger giant wasn’t called out by just anyone.  Reporter Greg Kaufmann, formerly of The Nation, has been following the fight for Fair Food for many years now, watching the Campaign for Fair Food win victory after victory, all the while watching the Florida agricultural industry transform into the “best working environment in American agriculture,” as described […]

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National Farm Worker Ministry endorses Wendy’s Boycott!

“Our board unanimously endorsed this boycott as a means of using their economic power to support the farm workers who are struggling for justice…”Late last week, the National Farm Worker Ministry — a 45-year-old cornerstone of the religious labor movement in support of dignity and justice for farmworkers — endorsed the Wendy’s Boycott!  Building on nearly 20 years of work in alliance with the Fair Food Movement, the NFWM announced its support for the boycott this past Friday:FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENational Farm Worker Ministry Boycotts Wendy’s27 July 2016, Raleigh, NC:  The National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) endorsed the Wendy’s Boycott of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). […]

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CIW Education team wraps up second summer of Fair Food Program education beyond Florida…

Nearly 1,000 tomato harvesters trained as frontline monitors of their own rights under the Fair Food Program in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey… Following June’s worker-to-worker education trip to Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, the CIW education team continued its trek north and wrapped up 2016’s northern education season this month with a tour of tomato farms in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, where they trained hundreds of new workers on their rights under the Fair Food Code of Conduct.Consolidating the expansion of the Program’s human rights protections into northern states — a process that began one year ago — is no small feat.  In the […]

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Part Two: What is a corporation to do if it is looking to partner with a real social responsibility program?

We concluded the first installment of this two-part series, entitled “The Enforcement Imperative at the Heart of Worker-driven Social Responsibility,” with this summary:To be effective, any social accountability program must employ: 1) worker education about their rights and remedies, 2) a confidential, timely, retaliation-free complaint resolution mechanism, and 3) regular and thorough audits.  And all of those mechanisms must be backed by the “power of the purchasing order.” If any of those is missing, real change will not happen.In other words, if someone is trying to sell you a car without an engine, a drive shaft, and four wheels, it’s not a […]

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