Get on the bus! Meet CIW at the culmination of the Return to Human Rights Tour in Columbus!

One month from today, a bus of farmworkers from Immokalee and their allies will be embarking on a 2,000-mile trek through more than a dozen U.S. cities for the monumental Return to Human Rights Tour. The CIW is ready to share its signature energy and message of hope and resilience with thousands of students, people of faith and community allies who will meet them in unstoppable action to advance the national Wendy's Boycott along every stop of the way. 

If we are to keep building a broad and inclusive movement to protect the fundamental human rights of farmworkers, and of all people at the center of struggles for justice, this kind of long-lasting vision and persistence will be needed to pull us through this uncertain moment, and to bring Wendy's into the Fair Food Program.

So, if you're ready to join the CIW from March 24-26 for the tour's culminating weekend of action — featuring a powerful vigil outside of Wendy's headquarters in Dublin, OH, an unforgettable World Café-style gathering at The Ohio State University and a tremendous, lively Parade for Human Rights through the streets of downtown Columbus — reserve your spot on a bus or caravan today!   

Check out the most updated list of buses and caravans leaving from DC, Boston, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Sarasota and many more cities over at theWendy’s Boycott website!   

Don’t see your city? Get in touch at to start coordinating your own caravan. 

And if you're in Florida, make plans to join hundreds of farmworkers and allies for the tour's grand finale: a march and vigil for human rights in Tampa, FL, on March 29! We will finalize the tour calling on both Wendy's and Publix Supermarkets to ensure dignity and respect for farmworkers in their supply chains by joining the Fair Food Program. 

See you soon!

TOMORROW: Send a Fair Food Valentine to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor! 

Yesterday, farmworker mothers and their children kicked off the national Valentine’s Day of Action in Immokalee by crafting dozens of heart-shaped boycott messages and an oversized Fair Food Valentine to drop in the mail for Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor. Before leaving their cards at the post office, the spirited group headed over to the Wendy’s restaurant in town to make sure the local manager, too, was made aware of the burgeoning national boycott. Once inside, however, they were given the cold shoulder. 

Speaking of frosty... it’s no secret that Wendy’s spends millions trying to convince consumers that what sets them apart from those “Othr Guyz” — a thinly-veiled identity Wendy’s created with reference to competitors like McDonald’s and Burger King — is their fresh, never frozen beef. But how does Wendy’s stack up against those same competitors when it comes to human rights violations in their supply chain? 

In case you missed it, CIW brilliantly exposes this stone-cold contradiction in a must-see, 30-second adbust of Wendy’s Super Bowl commercial, which has racked up a whopping 17,000 views since the big game. With the same $5 million Wendy's spent on half a minute of airtime, they could have funded at least five years of fairer wages and dignified working conditions for farmworkers through their participation in the Fair Food Program.

This Valentine’s Day, join the Fair Food Nation in letting Mr. Penegor know that we’re not buying any of it — literally. For inspiration in crafting your Valentine to Wendy’s top executive, check out these creative action resources. Be sure to take a picture with your V-Day card and upload it to social media using #BoycottWendys and tagging @Wendys before you mail it to Mr. Penegor: 

Mr. Todd A. Penegor
The Wendy’s Company, Inc. 
One Dave Thomas Boulevard
Dublin, OH 43017

And send us a report of how things went at!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

SFA’s leadership convenes in Immokalee and rolls out student escalation in the Wendy’s Boycott! 

Two weeks ago, members of SFA’s new leadership made their way to Immokalee for the annual Steering Committee (SC) Face-to-Face meeting. Seven new members joined five returning SCers for three intensive days of building strategy in the Wendy’s Boycott, connecting with members of the CIW and strengthening the reach of the SFA network in the year ahead.  

Ready to take on corporate exploitation in Wendy’s supply chain, the SC developed plans to bring contract-cutting campaigns at “Boot the Braids” campuses to victory — with a sharp focus on strongholds like The Ohio State University, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and University of Florida. 

The SC also spent the weekend zeroing in on mobilization plans for the CIW’s upcoming Return to Human Rights Tour and mapping out tactics to bring the Wendy’s Boycott more heavily into campuses and communities across the country. And, together with the CIW, SCers spent time crafting a vision for longterm solidarity among grassroots movements to fight exploitation and corporate greed in our country’s food system and beyond. Stay tuned as these plans unfold over the course of the spring semester! 

The steady stream of actions leading up to the major spring tour have already begun. Last week, hundreds of students, young people and community allies flooded the voicemail inbox of Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor with promises to show up by the thousands to Wendy’s doorstep in March unless he finally brings the company to commit to joining the Fair Food Program. 

Up next, join SFAers in keeping up the pressure on Wendy’s top executive — this time, by mailing boycott-themed Valentine’s Day cards to Mr. Penegor’s corporate office! Resources to support you in planning your action are up on the Alliance for Fair Food site, including talking points, sample Valentines and more. 

And in case you missed it, check out how CIW expertly brand busted Wendy’s $5 million “Cold as Ice” Super Bowl commercial!

Long live student/worker power!

CALL-IN DAY: Give Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor a buzz on Feb. 1 in advance of CIW’s Return to Human Rights Tour!

As thousands of people across the country gear up to take action with dozens of farmworkers on CIW’s 14-day, 12-city Return to Human Rights Tour — including the major mobilization in Columbus from March 24-26 — join SFA for a national call-in day to Wendy’s corporate headquarters. We’re giving Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor a ring on Feb. 1 to give fair warning that SFAers nationwide are boycotting and mobilizing in full force to demand justice, dignity and respect for farmworkers! 

Check out the call script below, and be sure to fill out the form after your call to let us know how it goes. Let’s make sure Mr. Penegor gets the message loud and clear that if Wendy’s doesn't join the Fair Food Program before March rolls around, we’ll be bringing our friends, classmates and communities to participate in a massive, visible and powerful action in the heart of Wendy’s territory in Columbus, OH! 

Call-in day: February 1, 2017

Call-in number: 614-764-3100, dial #3 and ask to leave a message for Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor (and they will transfer you to his assistant, Lisa Spears)

Sample script: “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m calling to leave a message for Mr. Todd Penegor in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The CIW is a human rights organization that's calling on Wendy’s to end exploitation in their supply chain by joining the internationally-recognized Fair Food Program. I am currently participating in the national boycott of Wendy's because of your company's ongoing failure to make a commitment to human rights. If Wendy's doesn't join the Fair Food Program by March, I will be attending a massive, farmworker-led mobilization from March 24-26 in Dublin and Columbus, and I’ll be bringing my community, too! Thank you for relaying this message.”

Name *
Who did you speak with during your call? What was your experience speaking with this person? Any noteworthy information shared?

Pa’ lante! 

On Valentine's Day, remind Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor of the Fair Food Nation's commitment to boycott!

During the next few weeks, people across the country will prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day by sharing in the promise of love and unity with friends and family. As storefronts and online feeds begin filling with hearts and flowers, the Fair Food Nation will begin making special plans of its own... to mobilize our campuses and communities for the CIW's Return to Human Rights Tour set for March 16-29! 

And just in from the CIW's website, check out the full tour schedule below: 

  • March 16 – Gainesville, FL
  • March 17 — Atlanta, GA
  • March 18 — Nashville, TN
  • March 19 — St. Louis, MO
  • March 20 — Minneapolis, MN
  • March 21 — Madison, WI
  • March 22 — Chicago, IL
  • March 23 — Louisville, KY
  • March 24-26 — National Convergence & Action in Columbus, OH
  • March 27 — Chapel Hill, NC
  • March 28 — Charleston, SC
  • March 29 — Tampa, FL 

But, even before converging with dozens of farmworkers and thousands of their allies in support of the Wendy's Boycott during this year’s major spring mobilization, we're calling on allies to build the drumbeat in the weeks leading up to the tour. On Feb. 14, join the Fair Food Nation in mailing Valentine's Day cards to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor, to remind Wendy’s top executive of our commitment to boycott the fast food holdout until they join the Fair Food Program! 

Check out these action resources for creative ideas, graphics, guides and tips for sending your Valentines to Wendy's Headquarters and for organizing a spirited action at your local Wendy’s. 

Join the SFA network in putting Mr. Penegor on notice that when it comes to human rights for farmworkers, we have high standards – and Wendy's should, too. The longer Wendy's leadership weighs the merits of "expecting" more from their tomato suppliers versus returning to an industry where real, enforceable protections for farmworkers are flourishing, the stronger students and youth will deliver on their word: If you don't sign, we won't buy!

Give the gift of human rights for farmworkers!

What if this holiday season, you could give a loved one the gift of human rights for farmworkers? 

Over the past 15 years, through the tenacious Campaign for Fair Food, hundreds of thousands of students and youth have fought shoulder-to-shoulder alongside farmworkers to bring corporate giants to implement human rights in their supply chain. And the unprecedented result of that epic (and ongoing) fight — the creation and implementation of the award-winning Fair Food Program — is guaranteeing freedom to work free from sexual harassment, an end to forced labor, access to shade, water, bathrooms and the right to report abuse without fear of retaliation to farmworkers in tomato fields across the East Coast, as well as bell pepper and strawberry fields in Florida.

Now, our challenge is not only to strengthen and expand these rights, but to also sustain them for the long haul.  And that’s why this holiday season, we invite you to give the gift of human rights to a friend or family member by making a sustaining donation in their honor. The impact of a sustaining donation is truly remarkable: 

If 20 people gave $20 a month, SFA would have the resources to fully fund both of the Steering Committee’s annual strategy meetings for 2017 — the Face to Face in January and the Mid-year Retreat in the summer — where SFA’s official leadership body convenes to formulate student-specific strategy in the Campaign for Fair Food, share and build upon their organizing skills and strengthen relationships with CIW members, SFA staff and fellow SCers. 

If you make a recurring donation, consider that if just 10 people commit to becoming Sustainers at $100 a month, the costs of 100 students and young people attending the annual SFA Encuentro will be completely covered, including meals, lodging, meeting space, materials, and travel scholarships for this crucial gathering in Immokalee. The Encuentro is a pivotal moment for youth of the Fair Food movement to develop campaign strategy, build leadership skills, and create a strong community. And this year, it will be more critical than ever that young people are equipped to protect the future of the Fair Food Program and our communities at large.

Finally, we are sharing an example of the impact of donations to the Fair Food Sustainer Program directly from the CIW’s website:

If 25 people gave $25 a month, the CIW worker-to-worker education team would have the resources necessary to bring Fair Food Program education to 1,000 workers in the northern states of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina each summer, where the team rises before dawn each morning, drives to distant fields, and informs workers, face to face, of their right to work free of violence, sexual harassment, and dangerous working conditions.”

Your gift to the Fair Food Sustainer Program is an investment in a different future: A future where the New Day of human rights dawning in fields across the East coast becomes the norm.  It is an investment in the future of the world we are creating together – one where all people are treated with dignity and respect on the job, at home and beyond. 

Join us in making that future a reality: Become a Fair Food Sustainer today!

VIDEO REPORT: Wendy's slammed with dozens of "Boycott the Fast Food Grinch" videos!

Last week, the SFA network put out a special online call to action in the Wendy's Boycott asking students and young people to submit videos declaring Wendy's the official Fast Food Grinch of 2016! And the Fair Food Nation took up the holiday challenge, chiming in from Idaho to Wisconsin to Florida — even from Guatemala! — affirming their commitment to boycott Wendy's until the Fast Food Grinch has a change of heart and joins farmworkers at the table.  

We were blown away by the remarkable spirit of solidarity and the incredible amount of creativity reflected in the whirlwind of videos that stormed SFA's Facebook page on Friday. Scores of students — including SFAers at Boot the Braids campuses, such as The Ohio State University, University of Texas-Austin and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill — and community allies added to the flurry of Grinch-themed theater skits, ultimatums, soliloquies and remixes.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 12 videos from SFA's "Boycott the Fast Food Grinch" action (though be sure to peep the full selection!):


AUSTIN, TEXAS – Students at UT-Austin

LAKELAND, FL – Crystal

MILWAUKEE, WI – Young People's Resistance Committee - UWM

ANN ARBOR, MI – Mikey of Ann Arbor Solidarity with Farmworkers Collective



ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Katie from Eckerd College

CHICAGO, IL – Students from Autonomous University of Social Movements


GUATEMALA – Charlotte of Nashville Fair Food  


BONUS: Members of the CIW and Fair Food toddlers Tepochtli and Oliver from Immokalee, FL! 

We'll wrap up this stunning video report with the re-mastered lyrics of this soon-to-be Fair Food holiday classic by Mikey from Ann Arbor, which perfectly encapsulates SFA's indefatigable commitment in the struggle for farmworkers' human rights:

You're a scoundrel,
Fast Food Grinch,
Is your profit worth the price?
Blocking worker participation in protecting their human rights,

Fast Food Grinch, 
Your rhetoric is deceptive
And your Supplier Code of Conduct bites. 

So we boycott! 
Fast Food Grinch,
It's the way we will declare
That your actions are immoral,
We can't wait for you to care,

Fast Food Grinch,
I wouldn't buy your burgers without...
Knowing your food is fair! 

ANNOUNCED! Save the date for CIW's Return to Human Rights Tour March 16–29, 2017!

In the tradition of the Taco Bell Truth Tours that successfully mobilized tens of thousands of students, people of faith and community allies nationwide toward victory during the seminal Taco Bell Boycott – and on the heels of last year’s successful Workers’ Voice Tour – farmworkers from Immokalee will converge with communities in action on next year's Return to Human Rights Tour! From March 16-29, 2017, farmworkers and their allies will take the Wendy’s Boycott deep into Wendy’s territory throughout the Midwest and the Southeast. 

The Tour will culminate with a major action in Wendy’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio on March 26 and finish strong with a powerful concluding vigil in Tampa on March 29 – stopping in nearly a dozen cities over the 13-day journey, including Gainesville, Chicago, Minneapolis, and more.

So, start making plans to meet us at major stops in Columbus or Tampa! And get in touch with us at to begin mobilizing your campus or community to this year's major action! 

It’s time for Wendy’s – and the country – to return to human rights. To read more about the Return to Human Rights Tour, check out the full tour announcement on the CIW’s website!

See you in the spring!

WENDY'S VIDEO ACTION: Boycott the Fast Food Grinch!

This fall, the Fair Food Nation lit up with Wendy's Boycott actions as the CIW's Behind the Braids mobilization traversed over 25 cities across the country from Miami to Columbus to Austin. But the action is far from over....

Wendy's disdain towards the demand for Fair Food in their supply chain has shown through over the years – and it's just getting worse.  Wendy's has consciously and shamefully isolated themselves from the human rights transformations taking place in U.S. agriculture, as every single one of their top competitors is already participating in the Fair Food Program. Going so far out of their way to undermine this new reality for farmworkers in East Coast tomato fields, Wendy's decided to shift its purchases to one of the darkest corners of agriculture in comparison to Fair Food Program farms. 

So, the SFA network is officially branding Wendy's as the "Fast Food Grinch" of the year – and we're putting out the call for students and youth to let the hamburger giant know they won't get away with stealing farmworkers' fundamental human rights!

This Friday, take action by submitting short videos to Wendy's on social media! Be sure to include your name, where you're joining from and why you're boycotting the Fast Food Grinch. Upload your 30-second video to Facebook or Instagram – or send it over to Don't forget to tag @Wendys and use #FastFoodGrinch and #BoycottWendys. If you need some more inspiration as you're getting your video ready for this Friday, check out these Wendy's Boycott resources.

As students and young people across the country join thousands in tarnishing Wendy's image with the boycott, Wendy's will realize that their stubborn resistance to joining the Fair Food Program is worthless. Farmworkers and their allies won't let go of the sharp belief that the responsibility for ensuring human rights and fair wages for farmworkers must be shared by the multibillion dollar companies that most profit from their labor. This national boycott will only end with Wendy's having a change of heart, just as the Grinch did, and joining farmworkers at the table. 

No matter what year-end tradition we celebrate, this season is a time for us to reflect on the commitment – and love – that drives the Campaign for Fair Food. This Friday, let’s remind Wendy’s of the true meaning of commitment, which goes way beyond being "quite happy with the quality and taste of the tomatoes" we consume. SFA’s commitment to the CIW's fight for Fair Food is deeply rooted in student/farmworker solidarity, tirelessly struggling alongside farmworkers to demand justice, dignity and respect in the fields. And no corporation – not even one as greedy as Wendy’s – will steal that away from us.

This #GivingTuesday, support human rights and become a Fair Food Sustainer!

Our work has created a new world of dignity and respect for the fundamental human rights of farmworkers. And we can't stop now.

Hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country continue to suffer from the grinding poverty and unspeakable abuse at the hands of their employers that has characterized farm labor for generations. SFA's challenge today is to continue holding corporations accountable for workers in their supply chain and to continue expanding the Fair Food Program into new states and new crops. 

In order to reach that next level, we need your help, now more than ever.  So today, on Giving Tuesday, we are joining the CIW to call on SFAers like you to become Fair Food Sustainers.

“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has proven that when you get up every day to fight for what is right, when you don’t give up even when all the odds are against you, when you don’t compromise on basic principles of fairness, and when you build a strong grassroots movement, economic justice will prevail over greed, and the least fortunate can successfully stand up to the powerful.” — U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, 2008

These are the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders, summing up his impression of the CIW and their struggle following his visit to Immokalee in the fall of 2008. He came to investigate the human rights crisis in the fields of Florida and the then fierce industry resistance to the CIW’s vision of a more humane agricultural industry. And after Sen. Sanders' visit, the CIW helped break that resistance and launched what today has become the single most successful human rights program in US agriculture, the Fair Food Program.

And in order to continue fighting against Wendy's and strengthening the Fair Food Program, we need your support. This is not a time when people of conscience can afford the luxury of sitting on the sidelines, of counting on others to do our part. 

We need you to join the growing ranks of Fair Food allies who make a monthly donation — whether it is $20 or $10 a month. With your sustained support, we can continue to ensure that farmworker women who face sexual violence have access to swift and decisive justice in the fields, and that the world’s largest corporations are held to account for the human rights abuses in their supply chains.

To be sure, defending farmworkers’ basic human rights in this country has never been an easy task. This year’s stunning election results stand to make that task only more daunting.

Yet we know that, in the face of the extraordinary challenges that lie ahead of us, there are millions of people across the country like you asking themselves how they can step up in the years ahead to support the vision of a better world they believe in. Becoming a Fair Food Sustainer is an immediate, concrete step that you can take to advance fundamental human rights and dignity for some of this country’s least protected workers.

Now more than ever, SFA must remain steadfast in our principles, we must get up and work hard every single day, and we must defy the odds. This Giving Tuesday, join the Fair Food Sustainer Program today, and share the call to action with your community!

GRAND FINALE: Boycott Wendy's actions from Miami to Chicago wrap up "Behind the Braids" fall mobilization!

It’s a wrap! Following the tremendous leadership of the CIW, SFAers and allies across the country have been at the forefront of the movement for farmworker justice since the birth of the Campaign for Fair Food in 2001. And this fall – even as the country has been adjusting to the new political landscape – the commitment to demand dignity and respect for farmworkers shone brighter than ever as the Wendy’s Boycott ballooned in over 25 cities from Miami to Austin to Chicago to Boston.

There’s much to share from the final stretch of this fall’s boycott mobilization, including on-the-ground reports from the last of the Behind the Braids regional tours, which hammered the Wendy’s Boycott throughout the fast food giant’s territory in the Midwest, and a recap of the Weekend of Action finale. Here we go!

The final Behind the Braids Midwest Tour kicked off on November 5 in Chicago, a community with deep roots in the Campaign for Fair Food ever since the city mobilized tirelessly during the CIW’s 2005-2007 campaign against McDonald’s.  Touching down in Chicago, it was more of a homecoming than a visit: we were warmly welcomed by excited members of the Son Jarocho community as well as many longtime community allies, including Interfaith Worker Justice and El Centro Autónomo — all ready to drum up some Fair Food spirit in the Windy City!

From there, we hit the ground running.  We stretched out across the city for Food Chains screenings; countless classroom presentations at college campuses, elementary schools, and high schools, including Oakton Community College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Kenwood Academy; and exchanges with community groups, such as the Autonomous Tenants Union and El Centro de Trabajadores Unidos.

On November 9 — even as we confronted news of the election results that shook communities across the country — nearly 50 allies stood strong alongside farmworkers outside of a local Wendy’s with even more determination and ánimo to defend human rights — of farmworkers, and of all human beings.  CIW’s signature energy of hope and resilience remained unbroken as the first leg of the Midwest Tour laid the groundwork to continue growing the Wendy’s Boycott in Chi-Town!
With spirits running high, we continued north to Wisconsin’s largest city the next day, making whirlwind stops at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Escuela Vieau and Escuela Verde to educate high school and college students on the longstanding human rights abuses in the fields – and the proven solution that is now transforming conditions for tens of thousands of farmworkers in the U.S.

After inspiring exchanges with SEIU Local 1 and members of Young People’s Resistance Committee at UW-Milwaukee as well as a lively community Food Chains screening, we joined an animated group of allies for a letter delivery to a local Wendy’s manager, declaring that consumers in Milwaukee refuse to accept the fast food giant’s polished public relations ploys as an excuse to reject the Fair Food Program.
We hit the road for Madison, where we took the time to re-connect with Fair Food veterans – many of whom had pledged their unwavering support to the CIW even before the Fair Food Program was born – and to cultivate relationships with newcomers to the Fair Food movement.  On Monday, we spent a full day trekking across the landmark Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to over a dozen classroom presentations, spreading the message of the Wendy’s Boycott to hundreds of students.  Later that night, we had a powerful exchange with campus strongholds MEChA de UW-Madison and the Student Labor Action Coalition.  The gathered students learned about the importance of continuing to build on the long legacy of student solidarity with the CIW that has existed at UW-Madison since the Taco Bell boycott years — and committed to take action the following day.

It was time to hit the streets!  We were met by over 60 students, professors and local community members ready to bring the Wendy’s Boycott to town.  Colorful art lined the sidewalk and lively chants echoed between the Capital Building and the UW-Madison campus buildings, as hundreds of students paced the restaurant-lined street during their lunch hour.

As the culminating action of the six “Behind the Braids” fall tours wrapped up, plans for what’s coming next were already in the works.  Madison — echoing the determination and commitment we saw in Chicago and Milwaukee — promised to keep the pressure up on Wendy’s, for as long as the fast food chain continues holding out on protecting the human rights of farmworkers!

Simultaneously, over in Cleveland, Ohio, we met by hundreds of Ohioans, from students at John Carroll and Case Western Reserve Universities to stalwart allies with the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, listeners of FCB Radio Network, and groups who had tirelessly been getting out the vote.  Women of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve and the national offices of the United Church of Christ welcomed CIW with the open arms — a spirit of support that has humbled us since the beginnings of the campaign all the way through the Presbyterian Church (USA) and UCC’s endorsements of the Wendy’s Boycott earlier this year. 

The week of raising consciousness turned into action on Friday as a 40-strong group of Clevelanders came out in the bitter cold to protest at a Shaker Heights Wendy’s.

In the blustery evening, representatives from all the above-mentioned organizations, as well as from Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, and many who had never taken action before joined the growing demand from Ohio:  Wendy’s must support and expand human rights for farmworkers rather than run from its responsibility as a massive corporate buyer of fresh produce. 

We headed from there down to Columbus.  Following a protest of thousands after the November 8 election, Ohio State University students took to the streets once more with CIW to demand that the University refuse to renew its lease with Wendy’s. 
Just days after the Diocese of Southern Ohio of the Episcopal Church officially endorsed the Wendy’s Boycott at their Columbus meeting, members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, the Methodist Theological Seminary, Franklinton Community Gardens, Central Ohio Worker Center, and students from OSU marched to the administration building where President Michael Drake has his offices.

After attending a powerful action in solidarity with Standing Rock activists, connecting the fight against exploitation of the environment with that against the abuse of human beings in the fields, we wrapped up our time in Ohio with a final action alongside Real Food Challenge.  Representatives of environmental justice movements, small-scale farmers, rural communities, and workers’ organizations spoke powerfully to the need to hold OSU accountable for their investment and spending as it affects our food system. 

Oscar Otzoy of the CIW closed the rally with these words:  “On behalf of all workers in Immokalee who everyday do the hard work of putting food on the tables of everyone in this nation, we are grateful for the support of everyone here.  What is clear now more than ever is that we must all be united.  It may seem that these corporations are the ones with power — but that is not true!  Power lies right here, now, with us.  And with that strength, it doesn’t matter what we are up against — I know we will win!”

As the final of the six regional Behind the Braids Tours came to a close, the rolling wave of energy for the Wendy’s Boycott hit Florida’s sunnier shores for a spectacular Weekend of Action finale!

On Saturday, students at Barry University and St. Thomas University in Miami coordinated a spirited march of more than 150 on Wendy’s in the neighborhood of Coral Gables, near the University of Miami’s campus.  Joined by dozens of CIW farmworker members from Immokalee and numerous faith and community allies from Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties – including representatives from South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice and the Presbytery of Tropical Florida – marchers began in a downtown community park with a rousing reflection on the uncertainty of the times we are living in, and the importance of taking action and continuing to unite in the struggle for human rights.

From there, the march kicked off with a long, loud picket outside of a nearby Publix.  The group took advantage of the moment to remind the Florida-based supermarket chain that it, along with Wendy’s and other resistant retailers, needs to hear the call for justice coming from farmworkers and Publix’s own consumers. After a successful delivery of letters written by students at St. Thomas University for Publix management, the march looped around the block and over to the busy U.S. 1 thoroughfare to make its way to the main event: a colorful picket outside a very prominent Coral Gables Wendy’s on that same road.  Though the manager refused to take a delegation’s letter, the group left the scene buoyed by the march’s high energy and the unmistakable joy of the Fair Food Nation.

The action wasn’t just in South Florida.  Central Florida was also present this past weekend, with two consecutive protests in the Fair Food strongholds of St. Petersburg and Tampa!  In St. Pete and Tampa, students at Eckerd College and the Tampa community invited others to join them in two dozens-strong marches to Wendy’s.  In a surprising move, the local manager met the delegation in St. Pete with openness – even while informing allies that Wendy’s corporate offices had warned many Wendy’s chains that Fair Food protests might be taking the boycott to their stores that day.

The Weekend of Action finished off in Fort Myers the next day, just a stone’s throw from Immokalee itself, with over 50 farmworkers and allies from across Southwest Florida. 

Participants ranged from congregations whose support stretches back to the pre-Campaign for Fair Food days, to students at Florida Gulf Coast University who had first learned of the CIW’s work only a few weeks ago.

The multigenerational crowd proudly raised their voices in solidarity with farmworkers as a sizable delegation of CIW farmworker women and faith allies, including youth from the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, approached the store to deliver their letter.  In the second surprise of the weekend, meeting them at the door were two Wendy’s representatives who introduced themselves as the Director of Operations and the regional Wendy’s manager.  Instructing the delegation to deliver their letter to Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, OH, the pair turned away even after hearing local consumers and farmworker leaders argue persuasively in favor of Wendy’s joining its peers in the Fair Food Program.

BONUS: And to wrap up this marathon report, we have a video produced by students in Washington DC, documenting the final action of the Mid-Atlantic Behind the Braids Tour just a few short weeks ago. Enjoy, and get ready for the next big wave of action this December 10, International Human Rights Day!

The battle for human rights continues...

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

We have had occasion to quote those words, attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, many a time over the 25 years that we have been organizing here in Immokalee. The quotation reminds us that, though at times it might seem that progress has grown unbearably slow or even ground to a halt, it never truly stops, and that, when viewed from a sufficient distance, the trajectory of history bends only one way — toward greater freedom and equality. 

The Fair Food movement is fundamentally a human rights movement. Yes, it is about immigrant rights, but non-immigrants work in the fields too and they are every bit as exploited and abused as their immigrant brothers and sisters. And yes, it is about labor rights, but it is about women’s rights as well, both in the fields and at home in the fight against domestic violence. It is even about consumers’ rights, the right to demand that, in the 21st century, food corporations no longer turn a blind eye to abuses in their supply chains, but use the power of the market to help fix the poverty and exploitation that their purchasing policies have driven for so long.

If we are to protect the fragile progress toward ever-greater social justice that we have made across the generations, we must fight together, in a broad and inclusive movement to protect our rights — immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, labor rights, our right to health care, our right to religious freedom, our right to a clean and sustainable environment, our right to a fair and equitable economy, and more — our human rights. If each of those sectors faces the challenge alone, we will be weak, we will be on the defensive, and we may lose ground. Together, however, we can define the agenda, one that fosters a vision of universal human rights, and we can win. America has given birth to many great movements across the centuries, from the fight against monarchy to the fight for universal civil rights. In this new century, perhaps it is time for a new American movement — the American human rights movement.  

If so, the Fair Food Nation will be there…

And now, News from the Lone-Star State...

With four whirlwind “Behind the Braids” tours already behind them, farmworkers from Immokalee and their allies hit the road again last week, turning their sights this time to a longtime hotbed of Fair Food action:  The Lone-Star State. From the Rio Grande Valley and Austin to San Marcos and San Antonio, the Immokalee crew swept through Texas with community gatherings, school presentations, animated actions, and collaborations with incredible grassroots and student organizations, building an even stronger national boycott of Wendy's.

Rio Grande Valley
The Texas Tour started off with a bang! Along South Texas Boulevard in Weslaco, we were joined by seventy community leaders from around the Rio Grande Valley, including members Fuerza del Valle, a longtime CIW ally and workers’ rights powerhouse whose support stretches back to the beginnings of the Campaign for Fair Food.  

Spirits were running high among the protesters gathered that sunny Saturday afternoon, raising colorful Fair Food banners and singing chants at the top of our lungs as we started marching along the sidewalk.

Once we arrived to Wendy’s, the scores of community members started a picket before a delegation made its way into Wendy’s. The delegation was immediately met with resistance. The manager, after refusing to allow the CIW or Wendy’s own local customers speak, proceeded to call the police. In spite of the cold shoulder, the delegation left even more animated than when they had entered, rejoining the upbeat protest outside ad continuing the protest with our flags and boycott banners held high, drawing support from many drivers and passersby.

The spirited action was then followed by a gathering with members from Fuerza del Valle, which generously hosted the CIW at the office of the Edinburg American Federation of Teachers. Together, the CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo and other workers shared their motivations and their vision for worker-driven social responsibility, building bonds of solidarity that anchored everyone in the room not only to the Wendy’s boycott, but also to the movement for basic human rights in workplaces across the nation.

Austin and San Marcos
After the visit to the Rio Grande Valley, we headed off to Austin and San Marcos.  First up, we were hosted by the Workers’ Defense Project and the Fight for 15 at a community gathering that was followed by two back-to-back days of class presentations.  As we visited classroom after classroom in universities like St. Edward’s University and the University of Texas in Austin, hundreds of new students committed themselves to strengthening the boycott even as Wendy’s tries to ignore the voices of student consumers across the country.

From there, we were invited to San Marcos, where we held class presentations at Texas State University and a screening of the award-winning documentary Food Chains at el Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.

To wrap up our region to that corner of Texas, it was back to Austin for more action!  Scores of students, members of the Workers’ Defense Project, organizers from the Fight for 15, and community members from Austin gathered for a lively picket with both long-time and brand-new allies from the community.

San Antonio
Finally, we made our last stop in San Antonio.  From the “El Mundo Zurdo” Conference to presentations at the University of Texas at San Antonio and meetings with the Southwest Workers Union, we witnessed even more young people take up the Fair Food banner.

With that, we wrapped up an incredible tour of the Lone Star State, and left inspired:  we saw students, workers’ rights organizations, people of faith, and communities not only join our presentations, screenings, and actions, but also commit to deeper, long-standing support of the Wendy’s Boycott in their home state.  We have no doubt that the good people of Fair Food Texas will continue to pressure the fast-food hold-out until Wendy’s finally comes to the table with the workers who pick their tomatoes.


Apply to be a part of SFA's official leadership body!

Want to be a part of one of the most dynamic, creative student/youth movements in the country? Apply today to be a part of the 2017 SFA Steering Committee!

Each SC member forms part of a unique support team of highly committed SFA members who work closely with one another, with SFA staff, with the CIW and other allies across the country to build up the farmworker-led Campaign for Fair Food. 

SCers take a leadership role in building a thriving national network of allies, working at the forefront of shaping student/youth strategy alongside the CIW in campaigns against corporate holdouts of the Fair Food Program, such as Wendy’s and Publix. The SC forms a tight-knit community that is central in building the culture and identity of SFA and plays an essential role in facilitating action throughout our vibrant youth network. 

Before applying, please carefully review the Steering Committee roles and responsibilities at the beginning of the application. Got questions? Hit up the SFA staff in Immokalee at

The final application deadline is Monday, November 7.

Wendy’s cowers as Northeast Tour exposes lies!

Last week, in the midst of the Northeast Behind the Braids tour, Wendy’s released their most direct response to the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food to date.  As outlined in CIW's response, that answer – rather than honestly address the letters, protests and calls of thousands of farmworkers and their allies – sidestepped, told half truths and outright lied (make sure to read the CIW’s point-by-point rebuttal if you haven’t already!).

Wendy’s statement was not the difficult but high road they claimed; rather, it served to expose the fear Wendy’s harbors of the growing tide of support for the farmworker-led, national boycott.  And as farmworkers traveled along the East Coast on a tour of education and action this past week, hundreds of students, youth and people of conscious saw Wendy’s fear over and over in their cowering response both in their public statement and in the streets.  

With hundreds committing to join the boycott in last week’s tour of New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, exposing the deceit “Behind the Braids,” we’re excited to bring you this report from the road!

New York City

The Northeast Behind the Braids tour started off with a bang in New York City!  

The Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York, whose support of the CIW’s organizing stretches back to the Taco Bell boycott days, organized a lively march from their community center through Tompkins Square Park and the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side all the way to the Wendy’s in Union Square, packed with pedestrians on a busy and sunny Saturday afternoon.


The girls had prepared for the CIW’s visit not just with handmade boycott banners and signs, but also with stylish braids and freckles, similar to the fast food chain’s iconic redhead.  Even in the buzzing streets of New York City, the march made a big splash with the indomitable energy of the girls’ boycott chants and drums.  Hundreds of New Yorkers passing by received flyers and word of the national Wendy’s Boycott.  

In spite of the infectious spirit of the city’s young girls, the delegation to the Wendy’s manager was rejected, and both CIW members and the young New York residents were promptly instructed to leave the premises.
Nanuet, NY

Meanwhile, just an hour upstate, a burgeoning group of allies in the Hudson Valley area joined together for a multifaith action at a Wendy’s in Nanuet, New York.  The Multifaith Community at Stony Point Center and members of local Presbyterian Churches, which are part of the Hudson River Presbytery, hosted Lupe Gonzalo of the CIW for a presentation about the Boycott, and the group then caravanned up the road, ready to take action!  

At the protest, hundreds of passersby stopped to listen as members of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian community members proclaimed that one uniting, central theme of their respective traditions is a call for worker justice.  Yet, even in the face of this beautiful and respectful coalition, we were threatened with arrest and not allowed to speak when a delegation approached the Wendy’s manager.
Undeterred by Wendy’s stunning disrespect for farmworkers, faith leaders and even schoolgirls, the Wendy’s Boycott movement continued to spread over the course of the following days, with thousands in Upstate New York catching coverage of the protest on Channel 12 and hearing about Fair Food at White Plains Presbyterian Church involving members of the Presbytery, the AFL-CIO, and WESPAC Foundation and presentations with Manhattanville students and high schoolers at the School of the Holy Child.

Montclair, NJ

On Monday, we headed to Montclair, New Jersey to meet up with the brand-new Montclair Fair Food Alliance, a vibrant new Fair Food group uniting students from Montclair High School, Montclair State University and Passaic Community College, congregants from local synagogue B’nai Keshet, and other community leaders.  The group held a protest at Wendy’s on the busy Bloomfield Ave, a thoroughfare for New Jerseyans heading home at the end of the workday.
During the small but spirited action, a group of workers and allies entered the store to try to speak with a manager — and, much to their surprise, were directed to three regional executives, who were seated inside the Bloomfield, New Jersey restaurant for a quiet meeting.  Breaking with the pattern of the two previous actions, two of the regional directors listened to Lupe’s powerful testimony and counter argument after counter argument to Wendy’s recent excuses for refusing to join the Fair Food Program.  After listening without interruption, both to CIW and to local students about the movement is growing in Montclair, the regional managers respectfully received the group’s letter.

Back to Manhattan…

The CIW’s stop in New York City concluded with a powerful vigil on Wednesday night in front of the offices of Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz.  In this hallowed stretch of sidewalk, where the Wendy’s Boycott launched earlier this year, religious leaders from all around the New York area gathered to “set the table of justice” — starting with an altar in the middle of the financial district.

After prayer and opening from Rev. Betty Tom of Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church and Rev. Noelle Damico of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, dozens of faith leaders gathered shared songs, held candles, and wrote down their own personal hopes for Mr. Peltz and Wendy’s, which were to be delivered at the end of the vigil.  Members of Jornaleros Unidos carried produce and pennies to the table to represent the incredible gains of the Fair Food Program.  Meanwhile, New York City Fair Food supporters listened as farmworker leaders and religious leaders responded directly to the statement freshly released by Wendy’s just that morning. 
As all waited in silence outside, the messages the vigil participants had written down for the company’s leadership were then carried inside by the CIW and allies.  A security guard did not allow farmworkers to speak directly with Mr. Peltz, but agreed to attempt delivery of the messages.  

Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Director of Programs at T’ruah, closed the vigil addressing Mr. Peltz: “The gates of repentance are always open.  As we stand here again calling upon Wendy’s to do the right thing, for Nelson Peltz to use his leadership, and to hear the words of the farmworkers who are leading this movement for change in the fields of Immokalee.  It is not too late.  You can always do the right thing.  It’s time for Wendy’s to do the right thing and join the Fair Food Program.”

Lupe closed the reflective space with a direct message for Mr. Peltz and the leaders of Wendy's: “Today we are in front of the offices of Nelson Peltz so that he sends this message to Wendy’s corporation and stops deceiving consumers.  We want Wendy’s to show the truth to all of their consumers, because we don’t just want justice for us as workers, but also justice for consumers so Wendy’s stops pulling the wool over your eyes. It’s necessary for us to continue fighting, to continue revealing the truth – because while we may not have the advertising dollars of Wendy’s, what we do have is our truth.”

Soon after the vigil, we drove to Providence, where rich interchanges with students at Barrington Christian Academy and Brown University through the Brown Student Labor Alliance, attendees of the Quaker Meeting , parishioners at local churches and members of Central Falls’ Fuerza Laboral and the American Friends Service Committee, set the table for a protest in strong rain and a harsh cold to make sure that Rhode Islanders know about the national Wendy’s Boycott.  Soaked but spirited, the protest sent a delegation to explain our presence to the manager, but workers and students were instead not allowed to talk and again told they would be arrested if they remained on Wendy’s property.  

Lupe Gonzalo of the CIW reflected, “The crude rejection we experienced at the door today is not out of the ordinary: Wendy’s rejection is something we experience on a daily basis as farmworkers.  But recently, Wendy’s has been making that rejection more public and obvious, with managers using threats and aggression to keep us from any kind of dialogue – which just shows Wendy’s lack of respect and their fear of what we are doing.” 

Cameron Johnson of the Brown Student Labor Alliance expounded: “There’s nothing they can do to make us afraid.  We’re here under the rain, we’re building power, making noise, spreading a message, and that is beautiful.  Don’t let anything dampen your motivation – this is a beautiful moment to me.”

Before leaving for Boston, we participated in Direct Action for Rights and Equality’s 30th anniversary, celebrating DARE’s incredible history of unified grassroots organizing and the longtime connection with farmworker justice through the work of the CIW.  


The Northeast tour ended in a historical seat of the CIW’s campaign: Boston, MA, where consumer allies anchored a successful campaign to bring Ahold USA, parent company to Quincy-based Stop & Shop, to join the Fair Food Program.  Welcomed with warm hospitality for presentations and meetings in communities including Hillel B’nai Torah, Nehar Shalom, First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain, and Northeastern University, the final action of the tour, over 60 strong, represented the aforementioned groups and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, New England Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish Organizing Institute and Network, Boston Workmen’s Circle, Northeastern Real Food Challenge, Northeastern Progressive Student Alliance, MassCOSH, SEIU, Haley House, Clark Real Food Challenge, Harvard Student Labor Action Movement, Maine-based Mano en Mano, and local small farmers.
The lively picket sent representatives to share with the manager our purpose, but the group was harshly rebuffed. Hannah Hafter of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee reported on the group’s experience and made the connection with conditions for farmworkers in Wendy’s supply chain: “The level of disrespect that we received five minutes ago when we went inside was quite shocking…. but the disrespect in terms of how we were treated is nothing in comparison to the kind of disrespect that farmworkers are facing every day in the fields.”  Itzel Vasquez-Rodriguez of the Harvard Student Labor Action Movement drew the connection between Harvard dining workers’ ongoing strike and the struggle of the CIW: “We’re here today because all workers deserve respect, but obviously corporations [and institutions] like Harvard and Wendy’s think otherwise.”

That's a wrap for the Northeast Tour! 

As protest after protest was met with slammed doors and refusal to dialogue, it’s clear that Wendy’s feels deeply threatened by the growth of the boycott.  Even as Wendy’s spews public relations drivel, thousands of consumers are going “Behind the Braids” to reveal Wendy’s falsehoods and bring them to be part of a reality of justice in the fields.  Strong student and community coalitions across the Northeast are mobilizing – and they are pledging to continue doing so. With three of the six Behind the Braids tours still to come, Wendy’s, your lies won’t be able to withstand this fearless movement!

“Boot the Braids!” rings out across campuses throughout the Midwest and Southeast!

What do major universities in Columbus, Ann Arbor, Louisville and Gainesville have in common?  Apart from raging school spirit, these campuses share a few important things.  First, they all do business with Wendy’s, allowing the fast food chain to blithely profit from students on campus with its unfair food; and second, the students on campus are not going to take it!  The Boot the Braids Campaign is picking up steam for the 2016-2017 school year:

In Columbus, the ‘Behind the Braids’ tour visit came at a critical juncture:  Almost two years ago, the university administration committed to end its contract with Wendy’s if the Dublin, Ohio-based fast-food chain did not join the CIW’s proven solution to end the abuse of farmworkers in its supply chain and thus resolve the grave concerns of the OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance.  With the deadline to renew the lease for the Wendy’s at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center fast approaching, the administration has yet to act.  

On October 7, dozens of students and community members from OSU SFA, Ohio Fair Food, the Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio, the Central Ohio Workers’ Center, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, and many other groups marched to the administration building to knock on President Michael Drake’s door.  The bright and colorful march proceeded through the center of campus, turning the heads of hundreds of students. 

As it neared Bricker Hall, the cry began to ring out: “Drake, keep your promises!  Drake, keep your promises!”  Although President Drake was traveling, there is little doubt that he, and hundreds more in the Columbus community, heard the growing call to end OSU’s complicity in Wendy’s unjust supply chain practices:  the action on campus was covered by WOSU and the Columbus Free Press; OSU’s Student/Farmworker Alliance sent in a scathing Letter to the Editor to OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern; and hundreds around the country emailed President Drake directly to express their support for the OSU students’ campaign.

In the face of Wendy’s — and the University’s — broken-record explanation for why Wendy’s need not join the Program, CIW’s Oscar Otzoy drove the message home for President Drake in the Columbus Free Press article:  “Wendy’s is quick to offer their Supplier Code of Conduct, released last year, as their substitute for the Fair Food Program — and their reason for not joining… But without any effective measures for enforcement or worker participation, Wendy’s code does not even begin to measure up to a commitment to the Fair Food Program.”

By the end of the tour stop, the message from students for the President was unmistakable: “The time for stalling is past — the human rights of farmworkers will not wait.  We must “Boot the Braids,” University President Michael Drake, as you promised!”  

With the movement to “Boot the Braids” at OSU on the rise, the tour also headed to neighboring Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Wendy’s holds a major contract with the University of Michigan.  

Upon arrival, we buckled down for a busy schedule of presentations, workshops, and strategy sessions, aiming to build a powerful “Boot the Braids” coalition both on campus and in the community:  We started off with a popular education theater piece with the Ann Arbor Solidarity with Farmworkers Collective and the Michigan Solidarity Network with Mexico — and that was just the beginning.  After many more strategy meetings and lively presentations, we found that everywhere from the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor to classrooms at UMich and Eastern Michigan University to local businesses in nearby Ypsilanti, Michiganders are committed to joining and spreading the Wendy’s Boycott.  

The visit culminated with an on-campus action in which Fair Food supporters educated over 500 passersby about the Wendy’s Boycott and the campaign to “Boot the Braids” at UMich, ending with a delegation to the manager of the Union Wendy’s!

Upon arrival to the Derby City, we were welcomed on campus by the University of Louisville’s  Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance, the student-led organization that has been turning up the volume on the Wendy’s Boycott on campus since its launch in March.  Off to a strong start with this past spring’s Workers’ Voice Tour, Cardinal SFA hosted a Wendy’s Boycott teach-in, strengthening their base on campus to further escalate the campaign in the months ahead.

And after a busy day of back-to-back classroom presentations, the Immokalee tour crew gathered with allies outside of the Student Activity Center, home to the Wendy’s on campus.  

As the lunch rush hour ensued, the Fair Food crew fanned out to flyer and educate students about the Wendy’s Boycott and the injustices tied directly to their campus community — deterring many from eating lunch at Wendy’s that day (and every day after), and inspiring others to even take some flyers to give to friends and family!

During our final stop along the “Behind the Braids” Southeast Tour, we were met with a wave of support in the sunny and scenic city of Gainesville by both longtime veterans in the fight for Fair Food, such as the indefatigable members of the Gainesville’s Alliance for Immigrant Justice, and brand-new supporters just learning of the growing national Wendy’s Boycott. 

We spent the bulk of our visit organizing in and around the University of Florida: sharing the long history of student involvement in the Campaign for Fair Food at UF, from the Taco Bell Boycott to the Dine with Dignity Campaign, with dozens of students over a delicious meal at La Casita; strategizing the next big moves in the “Boot the Braids” campaign with members of CHISPAS UF and Gators Against Human Trafficking; and educating hundreds of students in classrooms across campus about Wendy’s decision to turn its back on protecting the human rights of farmworkers in its supply chain. 

Our time at the University of Florida ended on a high note, with both a letter delegation to UF administrators and a community-wide protest, where we were joined by a freshly-energized group of UF students, faith leaders and community members for a Boycott Wendy’s picket on the side of one of Gainesville’s most trafficked streets — a perfect way to end the tour, with allies in the community full of excitement to keep building the pressure in the Wendy’s campaign in the months ahead! 

The call to “Boot the Braids” rang out across campuses around the country this past week, a call that was heard by thousands of students, dozens of university administrators, and without a doubt, Wendy’s.  It is high time for Wendy’s to face the reality that student organizing will only continue to ramp up this school year and universities will have no choice but to hear their students’ just demands and end their contracts with Wendy’s.  Wendy’s has already lost the business of thousands of young people and students across the country, and that number is only growing.

Get with the Program, Wendy’s!

PHOTO REPORT: Southeast and Midwest ‘Behind the Braids’ Tours take off!

Spreading consciousness about the Wendy’s Boycott to thousands of consumers throughout the fall (and bringing people together in powerful actions along the way), the upcoming six ‘Behind the Braids’ tours are set to ramp up the Wendy’s Boycott in over 20 cities across the country. And this past weekend, teams of farmworkers and allies from Immokalee packed their bags and hit the road, setting off on the first two tours throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Below are the take-off reports, hot off the presses, from the teams on the ground: 

Southeast Tour

The ‘Behind the Braids’ Southeast Tour began bright and early Sunday morning in Nashville, as faith leaders of New Covenant Christian Church and Woodbine United Methodist Church welcomed CIW’s Nely Rodriguez to speak at their morning service on Wendy’s unconscionable moral failure in evading its responsibility to protect farmworkers human rights.   Later on that evening, members of Nashville Fair Food set up a convivio and art-building session to welcome CIW, and together, we inaugurated Fair Food fighter Brenda Ayala as the group’s first part-time organizer!  

We spent the next couple of days in classroom after classroom at Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University and Trevecca Nazarene University, educating students on the CIW’s long history of struggling for human rights and strategizing on how to continue building support on campus this fall for the Wendy’s Boycott — and of course, animating students to take action on Tuesday afternoon!

When action time came around, we were met with over 50 energized allies at Wendy’s right off of TSU’s campus – including stalwart members of Nashville Fair Food, Vanderbilt Food Justice, members of New Covenant Christian Church and the unstoppable Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, and of course, our friends from Workers’ Dignity – all of whom were fired up and ready to boycott Wendy’s!  

As boycott chants echoed throughout the highly-trafficked intersection and allies zipped through the streets passing out boycott flyers to passersby, a community delegation entered Wendy’s and delivered a letter to the friendly manager who agreed to pass it along to corporate. 

During the delegation reportback, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings addressed the crowd: “When we talked about how Wendy’s — rather than coming on board with the Fair Food Program —  would rather take their business to Mexico to further exploit workers, [the manager] was confounded.  I think we truly made progress here today, and I’m certain corporate headquarters will be hearing about this.  We are the ones who will continue to speak out until justice is done. God is on the side of justice. And we are on God’s side, so we will win!” 

Nely wrapped up the picket, capturing Nashville’s excitement and commitment to continue boycotting Wendy’s: “It is not the last time we will be here in Nashville… We will continue to put pressure on Wendy’s because that’s what it’s going to take to win this boycott.  That’s what it takes when corporations like Wendy’s evade their corporate responsibility and disrespect workers at the bottom of their supply chain.  Justice is not bought, justice is not simply given, justice is won and defended!”


At the crack of dawn, the Immokalee team headed South for our next stop along the tour: the quaint, yet bustling town of Athens, Georgia.  For weeks, a coalition of local organizations dedicated to creating an inclusive and unified community in Athens organized a full day of events to bring the Wendy’s Boycott to town.  A series of presentations with professors and students from the University of Georgia’s Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights and School of Social Work set the stage for a lively, creative Boycott Wendy’s march with dozens of newly-animated UGA students and community members. 

The high-energy march – led by members of Athens for Everyone, Real Food Challenge UGA, Amnesty International UGA, Daily Groceries Co-op and Bombs Away Collective – blasted the message of the Wendy’s Boycott to scores of people walking to class, heading in to work and even those leaving the Wendy’s drive-thru. 

Finally, after the action, over 40 people attended a screening of the award-winning documentary Food Chains, including several Fair Food veterans from the days of the Taco Bell boycott!  The day wrapped up with a special and savory community meal hosted by Bombs Away Collective to celebrate the tour stop’s success.  Our main take-away from the energizing visit:  Athens is ready to take up the Fair Food banner in the Wendy’s Boycott! 

Midwest Tour

As the first Midwest arm of the ‘Boot the Braids’ tours took off on Monday, both farmworkers from Immokalee and allies in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan had one thing in mind: bring the message of the Wendy’s Boycott to the heartland of the fast-food giant.  

Starting off in Wendy’s home state of Ohio, members of the Cincinnati Interfaith Worker Center, the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and other local organizations greeted CIW members this past Tuesday with a warm welcome befitting of the Mid-South Queen City. 

After an in-depth interview and call to action on the local radio station, La Super X, with hundreds tuning in, the CIW and CIWC headed off to protest at the Camp Washington Wendy’s, sending in a delegation of brand-new Fair Food allies to ask the manager to alert his higher-ups that the Wendy’s Boycott was growing.   

CIW’s Oscar Otzoy closed the protest with these words: “I hope our friends on the rest of the ‘Behind the Braids’ tours have the same beautiful experience we had here today, and that our dreams become reality — that the corporate executives become just as receptive to us as the Wendy’s workers we encountered at the restaurant today were.  Don’t lower your protest signs yet, because sooner or later we are going to win — and when we do, we will celebrate.”

As the protest came to a close, the Midwest Immokalee team divided into two directions — one group headed for Louisville (stay tuned for next week!) and the other to Cleveland, where longtime allies in the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America and students at John Carroll University joined us for a high-energy action in Shaker Heights.  The action was buoyed both by IRTF’s tenacious commitment to solidarity with the CIW as well as people’s movements against injustice in Central America, and by John Carroll students’ budding excitement to organize on their campus.  

An unstoppable team passed out boycott flyers to hundreds of passersby, many of whom had pulled over out of curiosity. 

When a delegation attempted to enter the Wendy’s store, the manager refused to even accept a letter explaining why protestors were there — but the group, many new to the Wendy’s Boycott, left inspired to continue organizing in Cleveland to bring more and more people to support.

What a whirlwind of action – and we’re only just getting started! Stay tuned as the ‘Behind the Braids’ tours continue storming the country with a clear message for Wendy’s: Consumers nationwide will continue boycotting your restaurants, until you join the Fair Food Program! 

SIGN & SHARE: Join SFA at Ohio State University in demanding that administration deny Wendy's a lease on campus!

For the past several months, Student/Farmworker Alliance members at the Ohio State University have been attempting to hold a meeting with administration to talk about the upcoming contract renewal between the University and Wendy’s. OSU SFA has remained firm and clear that the Wendy’s on campus needs to be removed until the fast-food giant joins the Fair Food Program. 

Throughout this time, the administration has been silent and ignoring students’ requests for having a meeting. And as scores of farmworkers, OSU students, people of faith and Ohio-area allies prepare to take on Wendy's at OSU tomorrow at 3 p.m. as part of the Columbus leg of the 'Behind the Braids' Midwest Tour, we’re calling on YOU to support OSU SFA’s Boot the Braids campaign! Send an email to OSU President Drake and CEO of the OSU Wexner Medical Center Dr. Sheldon – where Wendy’s is located – to not only listen to students’ concerns, but to take the necessary step of denying Wendy’s business on campus until they do their part to protect human rights for farmworkers in their supply chain. 

We share with you below a message from OSU SFA. Join the Boot the Braids action tomorrow and spread the word!

Ohio State University Student/Farmworker Alliance and Ohio Fair Food are organizing to kick Wendy’s off of Ohio State’s medical center campus. OSU administrators have been ignoring student demands to remove Wendy's from campus until the fast-food giant joins a real solution to farmworker exploitation: the Fair Food Program. Instead, they have been refusing to meet with us, using as an excuse a pending meeting with Wendy’s to hear more about their fake Code of Conduct.

With the Wendy’s contract with the University up for renewal at the end of the semester, now is a crucial time to push OSU to do the right thing. Please sign and share our letter to University Hospital CEO Sheldon M. Retchin and President Michael V. Drake asking them to not renew OSU’s contract with Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program.

Let’s #BootTheBraids from OSU, and get Wendy’s on board with the Fair Food Program!

¡En la lucha!

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

This past weekend, nearly 90 allies from across the Alliance for Fair Food’s vibrant national network of students, youth, people of faith, Fair Food Group members and worker-led and grassroots organizations came together in Immokalee for a successful, first-ever Wendy’s Boycott Summit. Hailing from nearly 20 different states – and with student representation from 19 schools and universities from Denver to Vermont to Columbus to Miami – participants gathered at the heart of the movement for Fair Food to build skills, relationships and, of course, develop a winning strategy for a victory in the Wendy’s Boycott!

The weekend began with a beautiful opening ceremony at the CIW’s Community Center in Immokalee as allies were warmly welcomed by the CIW’s Women’s Group, and an important reflection on planting seeds of consciousness to harvest fruits of dignity and justice. Over the next couple of days, participants dove into skill-building workshops about student organizing, building an SFA Chapter on campus, press strategy, language justice and more. Campaign history sessions drew insightful connections between the seminal Taco Bell boycott and the current national boycott of Wendy’s. 

Students and young people put their heads together during the weekend to strengthen and grow SFA’s 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. And, together with people of faith and Fair Food Group members, strategized to mobilize students, congregations and local communities to take action in the upcoming ‘Behind the Braids’ regional fall tours and national weekend of action from Nov. 11-13! 

On Saturday, the group loaded onto buses and headed into Naples, where they were met with an energized contingent of farmworkers and their families from Immokalee and dozens more Southwest Florida allies to picket outside a prominent Wendy’s location. The 150-strong protest went far from unnoticed by Wendy’s management and the cars passing by on busy U.S. 41, drawing on the strength, excitement and commitment of the farmworkers and allies that throughout the weekend had been working together to bring Wendy’s to the table with the CIW.

The Summit weekend concluded with participants conscious, committed and ready to hit the ground running with a long, concrete list of plans to take back to their home bases and turn up the heat on Wendy’s – and many of these are already set in motion!

Check out the seven Wendy’s actions taking place in cities across Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky just next week. And if any of the Behind the Braids tours are heading your way, make sure to get in touch and catch the wave of actions sweeping the nation!

TUESDAY, October 4
Wendy’s Protest in Cincinnati, OH
4:30 PM@ Wendy’s (1246 Hopple St, Cincinnati)
Contact: shelby (at)

TUESDAY, October 4
Wendy’s Protest in Nashville, TN
5:30 PM @ Wendy’s (1045 28th Ave N)
Contact: yaissy (at)

WEDNESDAY, October 5
Wendy’s Protest in Cleveland, OH
4:30 PM @ Wendy’s (13246 Cedar Rd.)
Contact: shelby (at)

WEDNESDAY, October 5
Wendy’s Protest in Athens, GA
5:30 PM @ Daily Coop (523 Prince Ave)
Contact: carmen (at)

THURSDAY, October 6
Wendy’s Protest in Louisville, KY
12:00 PM @ University of Louisville Library
Contact: shelby (at)

FRIDAY, October 7
Wendy’s Protest in Columbus, OH
3:00 PM @ Wendy’s (2004 N High St.)
Contact: shelby (at)

SATURDAY, October 8
March to Wendy’s in Atlanta, GA
1:30 PM @ Piedmont Park Charles Allen Entrance (500 10th St NE)
Contact: carmen (at)

It’s only a matter of time before Wendy’s realizes the only way forward is joining the Fair Food Program! 

¡Wendy’s ya cayó! 

Become a founding member of the Fair Food Sustainer Program!

Over the last decade and a half, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance, have fought shoulder-to-shoulder to make the dream of justice, dignity and respect in the fields a reality. Today, that reality is the Fair Food Program. Now, the support of the Fair Food Nation is essential to bringing these critical human rights to thousands of workers in new crops and regions by sustaining the three core elements of our collective work for a just food system: the leadership and community organizing of farmworkers, the commitment of students and youth working in solidarity with the CIW and the essential monitoring work of human rights investigators.

Sign up to become a Fair Food Sustainer now!

Fifteen years ago, a small group of farmworkers from Immokalee and local allies 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 of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. And outside of the CIW members and their few faithful allies gathered that day, no one gave the Taco Bell boycott a ghost of a chance.

Yet here farmworkers and their allies stand together today, having won the Taco Bell boycott, and

  • Thirteen more agreements with major food retailers from McDonald’s to Walmart;
  • The partnership of over 90% of the Florida tomato industry, and;
  • Verifiable human rights protections for 35,000 farmworkers and their families through the groundbreaking Fair Food Program, which is expanding and now operates in six new states and two new crops since its launch in 2011.

Gone is the daily barrage of sexual harassment, discrimination, and dangerous working conditions. Gone, too, are three decades of falling wages. Today, thanks to the Fair Food Program, workers can stand up for their rights without fear of being fired, and the Florida tomato industry is a model of social responsibility recognized around the country and around the world.

None of these historic changes would have happened without the unwavering commitment of thousands of students and young people who have joined the CIW in action time and time again over the course of the Campaign for Fair Food. 

But in many ways, this work is just getting started.

Become a Fair Food Sustainer now.

The CIW and SFA are calling on the national network of allies that has fought, tooth and nail, to make the Fair Food Program a reality — not just to show up in action in the streets but to financially sustain our collective work for justice, too. 

So today, we are launching the Fair Food Sustainer Program.

With a steady stream of monthly contributions, SFA (through the Alliance for Fair Food) can sustain and expand the three core elements of our work in conjunction with the CIW and the Fair Food Standards Council:

  • The leadership of farmworkers through community organizing, worker-to-worker education, and frontline monitoring of their own rights in the fields,
  • The commitment and leadership of student and youth allies through action holding retail food companies accountable for labor conditions in their supply chains, and
  • The essential monitoring work of investigators though complaint investigations and field audits ensuring compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct.

Whether you sustain this work with a donation of $5 or $50 a month (or more!), with the partnership of the thousands upon thousands of people that make up the vibrant Fair Food Nation, there is nothing we cannot do together!

Become a founding member of the Fair Food Sustainer Program today.

ANNOUNCED: ‘Behind the Braids’ truth tours, national weekend of action this fall!

As the Wendy’s Boycott swells with support from groups and individuals nationwide – including nearly 50,000 petition supporters on – 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 and organizing in the farmworker community begins to pick up here in Immokalee, CIW members will join thousands of consumer allies for powerful actions, film screenings, presentations, workshops and interviews in nearly two dozen cities around the country, from the Southeast to the Midwest. To culminate the busy season of tours, the Fair Food Nation will come together for a national weekend of action just ahead of Thanksgiving, Nov. 11-13, amplifying the Wendy’s Boycott from coast to coast.

Join us this fall to demand full respect for the human rights of farmworkers in Wendy’s supply chain!

Check out the schedule and map of the six regional ‘Behind the Braids’ tours. We’ll be updating it in the coming weeks with action details in each tour stop, and adding mobilizations organized by allies for the Nov. 11-13 national weekend of action. If we’re stopping near you or you’d like to participate in the weekend of action, get in touch to coordinate bringing the Wendy’s Boycott to your campus or community!