“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) allianceforfairfood.org

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

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

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

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

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

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) allianceforfairfood.org

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 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 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!

SIGN & SHARE: CIW launches Wendy’s Boycott petition on Change.org!

The national Wendy's Boycott is about to go viral! With over 100 million petition starters and supporters in more than 196 countries, Change.org is the prime platform for CIW to launch a far-reaching petition calling on SFAers to stand with farmworkers in boycotting the final fast food holdout until they join the Fair Food Program.

Sign the petition – and then share it far and wide!

It’s been almost six months since the Wendy’s Boycott took off during the Workers’ Voice Tour in March – and though thousands upon thousands of allies have since then protested, marched, phoned, emailed, organized, and pledged to boycott Wendy’s until the fast food giant commits to respecting human rights for farmworkers, the corporation continues to ignore the growing calls for justice.

But with a brand-new petition live on one of the most successful online campaign sites in the country and a fresh season full of student, worker and community organizing – starting with the Wendy’s Boycott Summit in Immokalee in late September – kicking off, the Fair Food Nation is ready to ramp up the pressure on Wendy’s!

So head over to Change.org to be among the first to add your name to the boycott petition!

Be sure to check out the tools below to spread the word widely with your friends, family and networks to grow support for the Boycott Wendy's petition! 

Sharable graphics for social media:

Sample tweets: 

Stand with @ciw in boycotting @Wendys until they agree to protect the human rights of farmworkers! change.org/boycottwendys #BoycottWendys

.@Wendys: If you want our business, you must join @FairFoodProgram! change.org/boycottwendys #BoycottWendys 

Chip in a little (or a lot!) to support this year’s Boycott Summit in Immokalee!

We’re only two short months away from the 2016 Wendy’s Boycott Summit, a long weekend of working alongside the CIW to develop creative strategy to advance the Wendy’s Boycott and strengthen all that we’ve fought for and won together. (If you haven’t already, apply to participate in this year’s Summit!)

SFA is dedicated to providing transformative opportunities to SFAers committed to this vibrant, diverse network and organizing in the Campaign for Fair Food. As part of our commitment, we're fundraising to offset the staggering costs of hosting the Boycott Summit. 

We’re calling on folks across the Fair Food Nation to help us raise funds to make this year’s unique gathering a success!

Our goal is to raise $3,000 to offset some of the Boycott Summit’s many costs. Your donation will go a long way in supporting folks traveling hundreds of miles to join us in Immokalee; contributing to food, housing and meeting space needs for over 100 allies; pitching in for printed materials and resources; and more. Every contribution will help us strengthen and grow the movement for Fair Food and bring us one step closer to victory in the Wendy's Boycott. 

So head over to our online YouCaring fundraiser and make your donation today! Don’t forget to share the fundraiser with your family, friends and community to help us quickly reach our goal and make this year’s Summit one for the books!

Announcing the Alliance for Fair Food Wendy's Boycott Summit, Sept. 22-25!

As a network working in solidarity with the CIW,  we find ourselves at a crossroads: With human rights for farmworkers gaining ground in tomato fields up the East Coast and in Florida strawberries, the CIW declared a national boycott of Wendy’s to strengthen and expand all we have fought for and won together, with the tremendous leadership of the CIW.  And in this relentless struggle to hold massive corporations accountable to workers in their supply chain — not only in the agricultural industry, but in countless arenas — victory in the Wendy’s Boycott is essential. And it is not a question of if, but of when.  

At this crossroads, the Immokalee crew — including CIW members and the Alliance for Fair Food staff— has been thinking about how we can best equip ourselves as a network to win the boycott against Wendy’s and fortify ourselves for the longterm organizing that is sure to follow.  For this reason, we’ve decided to call together a Wendy’s Boycott Summit here in Immokalee — a long weekend of working together with CIW to develop short-term and longterm strategy in the national Wendy's Boycott, and building our skills and leadership, all the while growing our connection as a community to the CIW and with each other before we fan out across the country again this fall. 

Taking the place of SFA’s annual tradition of holding a student and youth Encuentro in the fall, the Summit will bring together people from every corner of the Fair Food Nation — students and youth, worker-led and grassroots organizations, people of faith, Fair Food Groups, and anyone who plans to actively build support for the Wendy’s Boycott in their communities.  

While the Summit will represent the breadth of the movement for Fair Food, SFA’s energy, voice and creativity will be as present as ever at this year’s gathering. So, be sure to fill out an application — or pass it along to someone who would be interested in attending. We’ll be sending more information in the coming days — but for now, save the date!  

We can’t wait to welcome you to the heart of the Campaign for Fair Food.

See you in September!

Midwest brings national boycott to Wendy's annual shareholder meeting!

Last Thursday, the Fair Food Nation delivered the message of the Wendy’s Boycott loud and clear to Wendy’s corporate headquarters, based in the quiet, suburban town of Dublin, Ohio. Farmworker leaders led a delegation inside the meeting and a lively action outside, joined by scores of students and other allies from around the Midwest. 

Since the announcement of the Wendy's Boycott in March, tens of thousands have taken up the charge in the form of institutional endorsements and actions in local communities around the country. This commitment and enthusiasm took center stage both inside and outside the meeting, making it clear to Wendy’s executives and shareholders that the boycott will only grow in numbers and strength the longer they hold out.

Ahead of the much-anticipated meeting, hundreds picked up their phones to call Todd Penegor, the new CEO of Wendy’s, to tell him he has an important choice to make: Will he finally commit Wendy’s to the Fair Food Program or will he allow Wendy’s inaction to continue fueling a national boycott that is tarnishing the company’s flashy image?

Many callers reported that they were unable to get through due to the sheer volume of calls, making it evident that support for the boycott is thriving. With this thundering momentum, on Wednesday night, dedicated groups of allies from cities around the Midwest and South – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Nashville and Louisville – began their travels to Wendy's headquarters for the shareholder meeting. 

And so, bright and early on Thursday morning, as a few dozen shareholders entered the headquarter building to hear about and vote on corporate initiatives, members of the CIW were joined by over 80 students, people of faith, and community allies from the Columbus area and across the Midwest and South to communicate the message of the Wendy’s boycott right outside Wendy’s doorstep.  

The lively crew was made up of community organizations, students and religious institutions, interconnected by their deep commitment to stand together with farmworkers and boycott Wendy’s: Ohio Fair Food, Nashville Fair Food, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Dignidad Obrera, the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, SFA at the Ohio State University, Real Food OSU, SFA at the University of Michigan, SFA at Duquense University, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, among many others! 

As more shareholders entered and the meeting time approached, the group – getting larger by the minute – gathered momentarily to give a warm send-off to the extraordinary delegation of four who were ready to enter and speak directly with Wendy’s executives and shareholders: CIW’s Silvia Perez, Natali Rodriguez of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, Amanda Ferguson of The Ohio State University SFA, and Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

The group sprang into a colorful march to the nearby Wendy’s flagship restaurant. Once there, CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo, a Tennessee State student, and a family from Columbus attempted to speak with the manager of the store to explain the presence of the protest and ask that the manager pass along the message to corporate across the street – but, as expected, the group was turned away at the door.

Returning to the sidewalk, Lupe addressed the waiting crowd with a few final words:

“I tried to tell the manager that I was accompanied today by students and children who are the future of Wendy’s business — who are seeing how Wendy’s is rejecting us.  The truth is, Wendy’s is shutting the door on themselves and on the future, because consumers are taking note of how they are responding to the national boycott, and losing respect for Wendy’s.”

And just as Lupe concluded the report back, the delegation inside the shareholder meeting was preparing for an intense exchange with Wendy’s leadership. Throughout the meeting, it became clear that though Wendy’s is shamelessly aware of its position as the only major fast food corporation outside of the Program, they constantly referenced their Supplier Code of Conduct and the values of Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas as hollow shields.  

Following Wendy’s presentation, focused on the international growth of the company, Silvia Perez, representing the CIW, took the stand to address both executives and shareholders alike. She said: 

“…Wendy’s actually moved its tomato purchases away from Florida, where workers’ human rights are protected, to source instead from Mexico, where human rights violations are systemic and go unchecked. Wendy’s told the growers it was leaving Florida specifically to avoid the Fair Food Program. And where does it get its tomatoes now? A Harper’s Magazine piece recently revealed that Wendy’s buys its tomatoes from Bioparques, a major grower in Mexico that was the subject of a massive slavery prosecution in 2013. 
Therefore, this past March the CIW and thousands of consumers declared a national boycott of Wendy’s…
…All of Wendy’s top competitors – McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, and Subway – have joined and are enforcing the Fair Food Program’s golden standard of human rights in their supply chains. 
Given all of this, Wendy’s leadership is faced with a choice. Mr. Penegor and Board Directors, will you choose to join the Fair Food Program and correct a legacy of injustice – or will you choose to see a boycott grow day by day outside of your stores?”

Wendy’s representatives confirmed that the company no longer purchases from Florida, and also asserted that it does not purchase exclusively from Mexico either, but also from California and eastern states. Their response nothing more than a cheap public relations trick to evade the real question before them: Why has Wendy's abandoned growers that are enforcing human rights to purchase from farms where no such protections exist? 

Up next, Amanda Ferguson, representing Wendy’s prized “youth market” and a student at The Ohio State University, brought to Wendy’s attention student efforts to end OSU’s contract with Wendy’s: 

“…In the fall, the renewal of the Wendy’s contract with the OSU Wexner Medical Center is conditioned upon the “satisfactory resolution of the concerns of the Student Farm Workers Alliance.”
Our concerns are nowhere near met. Thus, unless your company joins the Fair Food Program you can expect that we will fight, tooth and nail, to remove Wendy’s from OSU. 
Support for Fair Food is stronger than ever; the millennial generation your company depends on will relentlessly fight and organize to boycott your restaurants regardless of how long it takes.
Mr. Penegor and Wendy’s leadership, will you uphold the Dave Thomas legacy of doing the right thing – or will you continue to ignore the demands of your target market until you see losses in business contracts?”

Wendy’s responded that they feel they have adequately addressed students’ concerns with their Supplier Code of Conduct– but Amanda was quick to respond that only by Wendy’s joining the Fair Food Program would students’ concerns be satisfied.

After the meeting, the Fair Food delegates made their way to Columbus Mennonite Church, where they were welcomed with a warm and beautiful outpouring of cheers and applause from those present outside the shareholder meeting earlier in the day. The play-by-play of the exchange between the delegation and the executives electrified the room, igniting further commitment from allies to continue on the campaign.

Wendy’s is mired in a fast-growing national boycott, and would be wise to look at the Fair Food Nation’s impressive track record of victory. We will win this struggle with Wendy's, too, by partnering with farmworkers to demand dignity and respect in the U.S. agricultural industry. 

Stay tuned for more action to come this summer!

CALL TO ACTION: Give Wendy's headquarters a buzz on May 25 ahead of boycott action at annual shareholder meeting!

With commitment for the national boycott of Wendy’s growing day by day and Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting right around the corner this Thursday, May 26, farmworkers of the CIW and youth across the country are preparing to be present both inside and outside the meeting at Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, OH, to take the boycott message directly to Wendy’s executives and shareholders.

And for those who can’t be present (and for those who can, too!), the CIW is putting the call out to the Fair Food Nation to give Wendy's a buzz to their headquarters on May 25, demanding that incoming CEO Todd Penegor bring the fast food holdout to commit to the Fair Food Program unless they’d rather choose to see an ever-growing boycott gain unstoppable strength.

Here's the call-in number and sample script: 

Call-in number: (614)-764-3327*This number will take you to Bob Bertini, Wendy's head of communications who must pass these messages to CEO Todd Penegor*

Hi, my name is ____, and I would like to leave a message for Todd Penegor. 

As Wendy’s prepares for its annual meeting of shareholders and Todd Penegor transitions into his role as CEO, Wendy’s shareholders and executives should know that I am boycotting Wendy’s until the fast food chain agrees to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program. It is unacceptable that Wendy’s has not only refused to be part of a proven solution to farmworker abuse and poverty, but has also moved its purchasing away from the Fair Food Program and to a farm where slavery was found in 2013 — so as Emil Brolick retires, I’m joining thousands of farmworkers and consumers in refusing to eat at Wendy’s until they respect farmworkers’ rights.

Thank you for relaying this message.

Since the announcement of the boycott just two short months ago, organizations and individuals representing millions have pledged to join the boycott. And Wendy’s finds themselves caught red-handed in their own lies: If Wendy’s cares about their supply chain — as they claim in their recent “All-American” ads and empty Supplier Code of Conduct — then why are they purchasing from a farm where slavery was discovered in 2013?

On May 26, farmworkers and allies get the chance to share our message with Wendy’s executives and shareholders face to face. Together, we will meet Wendy’s gross rejection of the Fair Food Program with the strength of workers uniting with students, youth, and so many more, boycotting the fast food giant until they respect farmworkers’ rights. SFAers everywhere, will you commit to a national call-in day on May 25? For those in Ohio — or those able to make the trip from nearby cities — will you join us outside of Wendy's Headquarters on May 26? 

For those ready to make the urgent call this Wednesday, make sure to fill out the form below to report back on your experience. 

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

If you’re traveling to the action, email us at organize@allianceforfairfood.org for information about carpools leaving from Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Nashville, Louisville, Cleveland and about housing on the night of May 25.

As always, ¡estamos en la lucha!

Two-year federal investigation results in $1.4 million fine for top Publix tomato supplier for unacceptable human rights violations

This week, news broke out of the U.S. Department of Labor uncovering extensive human rights violations at Red Diamond Farms, a grower outside of the Fair Food Program and a major Publix tomato supplier, resulting in the farm paying $1.4 million in penalty fines and $150,000 in stolen wages to workers.

Below are the DOL's findings from the two-year federal investigation: 

Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division Tampa District Office found that Red Diamond Farms and Torres violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards ActMigrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and H-2A temporary agricultural program. Specifically, investigators found the employer:
+ Provided preferential treatment to H-2A guest workers over corresponding domestic workers when it paid the guest workers higher rates and offered them more hours than the domestic workers, and failed to offer free housing or pay transportation costs to the domestic workers;
+ Failed to disclose the conditions of employment to the domestic workers when they were not provided a contract, as the law requires;
+ Concealed the presence of the domestic workers by segregating the payrolls, and denying their presence during the investigation;
+ Failed to keep accurate and complete payroll records.
In the course of the two-year investigation, agency investigators also determined that 380 employees were due back wages stemming from underpayments and the company’s failure to meet the full terms and conditions of the H-2A contract.

Over the course of the past six years, while Publix has turned its back on the thousands of farmworkers and allies who have long stood by the CIW demanding that the South's largest grocery chain make a verifiable commitment to the farmworkers who make its profits possible, at least three separate federal investigations for human rights violations have taken place in its Florida tomato supply chain. All the while, Publix, unbothered and unaccountable to any of these abuses, cashes in the profits of "doing business as usual" with growers like Red Diamond and stocking their shelves with exploitation-tainted produce. And given that Publix has refused time and time again to join the Fair Food Program, this time around is no different. 

In the DOL's press release, an administrator states, “Red Diamond Farms and its owner willfully disobeyed federal labor laws and exploited vulnerable, low-wage workers. These actions are unacceptable.” And just as Red Diamond has willfully exploited and humiliated farmworkers in the fields, Publix willfully has chosen to turn a blind eye to the conditions in its supply chain and deny the imperative for participation in the Fair Food Program.

No amount of PR ploys or delicately written statements can justify Publix's complicity in the deplorable abuses flourishing within its supply chain, especially when now, for five seasons strong, tens of thousands of farmworkers under the Fair Food Program are exercising their right to report abuses without fear of retaliation and work free from sexual harassment, violence and forced labor, and 14 multi-billion dollar corporations are utilizing their market power to enforce these rights. 

So long as Publix remains on the hook for buying produce from growers that exploit workers and refusing to do its part to eliminate and prevent human rights abuses in the fields, students and young people will remain firm in incessantly calling on the grocery giant to join its major grocery counterparts in ensuring the farmworkers harvesting the produce  – including Red Diamond's exclusive Tasti-Lee tomatoes – they sell in their stores are treated with dignity and respect. 

It will be interesting to hear what Publix has to say in its desperate defense this time around. Will Publix continue with its embarrassing tradition of brushing off atrocities in its supply chain and writing them off as "not our business" or will the grocery giant find its sense of shame and join the Fair Food Program once and for all? 


Month of Outrage puts Wendy's under fire!

After a month of non-stop action, April’s ‘Month of Outrage’ is a wrap! In the past few weeks several hundreds of allies, including students from campuses across the country, took to the streets to denounce Wendy's for its shameful decision to shift its purchases outside of Florida to the Mexican tomato industry, sourcing from a farm where countless reports show that workers there continue to confront wage theft, sexual harassment, child labor and even forced labor.

From coast to coast, the momentum built upon the previous month’s Workers’ Voice Tour to march, picket, and chant in nearly 20 cities nationwide throughout April. It all kicked off in the heart of the Fair Food Nation in Southwest Florida, when Immokalee farmworkers and their families joined allies in Naples for a high-spirited picket and manager letter delivery.

Students within Fair Food Group strongholds then took up the baton – DC Fair Food organized a letter delivery to a local Wendy’s manager. OSU SFA and Ohio Fair Food teamed up with other local forces for a May Day march, during which #ReclaimOSU declared their support for the Wendy's Boycott. In Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, students joined people of faith to deliver boycott pledges gathered throughout the month, all taped together to show the depth of local support for the boycott.

Students also got creative, organizing not just pickets and letter deliveries but also teach-ins and impromptu presentations to educate fellow students about ongoing campaigns to Boot the Braids off campuses and student meal plans. Students at the University of Michigan continue to grow their base along with the Ann Arbor Solidarity with Farmworkers Collective to kick Wendy's off campus for good. Vanderbilt University students gathered more 750 signatures from the student body and delivered them to the head of Dining Services on campus, in an effort to cut a dining contract between the University and Wendy's.

At campuses in Miami, Denver, and Pittsburgh, students took it upon themselves to educate fellow students, gather boycott pledges, and take them to local Wendy’s management. Closer to Immokalee, farmworkers joined New College students and community members to conclude the Month of Outrage with an energizing hundred-person protest in sunny Sarasota.

As the national boycott against Wendy's sweeps its way into every university, high school and community space in the country, Wendy's will feel the burn in their pockets – and their precious image will suffer because of it.  Is Wendy's stubborn and greedy leadership willing to continue risking the company's flashy brand and reputation by ignoring our demands for Fair Food?

We'll soon find out during the next big opportunity for CIW and SFA to confront Wendy's leadership (face-to-face this time): the Wendy's annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, OH on May 26. SFAers are mobilizing to wave the Boycott Wendy's flag outside an annual shareholder meeting for the first time, and allies nationwide will give Wendy's Headquarters a heads up of what's coming for them with a national call-in day on May 25. Join in and spread the word!

SFA presente!


TAKE ACTION: April declared “Month of Outrage” in national Wendy’s Boycott!

Just a few weeks following the whirlwind 10-day Workers’ Voice Tour, the Wendy’s Boycott – the second-ever boycott declared in the 15-year history of the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food – is in full swing! To keep building pressure on the final fast food holdout, the CIW is inviting students and young people across the country to participate in the Wendy’s Boycott “Month of Outrage” this April!

Already, since SFA’s declaration of a national student boycott against Wendy’s in March 2015, thousands of students have banded together to let the fast food giant and its resisting leadership know that the longer they stall on joining the Fair Food Program – because we know it’s only a matter of time until this boycott brings them to the table – the harder it will get to appeal to their most valued consumer market. 

This April, join us in responding to CIW’s call for a Wendy’s Boycott “Month of Outrage,” expressing our collective anger and disappointment at Wendy’s continued disregard for the human rights of the workers that pick the produce that make their profits possible.  

Here are some of the many ways you can add your voice to the upcoming Month of Action: 

  • March or picket at your local Wendy’s
  • Deliver a letter signed by your community to the local Wendy’s manager
  • Write an op-ed in your local paper
  • Organize a group call-in to the office of Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz’s
  • Run a boycott pledge drive on campus (and document it with photos!)
  • Host a vigil at a local Wendy’s

Click here to download our boycott creative action guide for ideas and pointers on putting together your very own action! 

The "Month of Outrage" is fueled by the complete disrespect Wendy’s has shown towards not only farmworkers and their allies, but also towards their very own Florida tomato suppliers. That shameful disrespect is encapsulated in the following principal reasons for this monumental boycott: 

  1. Wendy’s abandoned the Florida tomato industry after the implementation of the Fair Food Program and shifted its purchases to Mexico, where human rights violations are endemic and go effectively unchecked;
  2. Wendy’s has chosen public relations over human rights by releasing an empty code of conduct with no real teeth in response to the Fair Food Program’s award-winning, enforcement focused, worker-led approach to social responsibility; and
  3. Wendy’s is profiting from farmworker poverty by holding out while all its major competitors joined the Fair Food Program years ago. 

As the CIW detailed on its website, it’s this first reason that sets Wendy’s apart from the 14 major food retailers that have joined the Program, and made the declaration of a boycott all but inevitable. How else to respond to a company that runs away from the most widely-respected human rights program in agriculture today into the arms of an industry in Mexico where child labor, sexual abuse and forced labor are prevalent and widely documented?

And just following the tour’s conclusion, the release of an explosive new article in Harper’s Magazine continues to add even more fuel to the fire of the Wendy’s Boycott. It critically reveals that the Kaliroy Corporation — the very same Mexican tomato producer that was the subject of a scathing exposé by the LA Times detailing the enslavement of hundreds of Mexican workers in nightmarish working conditions — is in fact one of Wendy’s suppliers.

Join the Wendy's Boycott and take action this month in solidarity with farmworkers! And if you’re in Southwest Florida, you can join farmworkers from Immokalee in kickstarting the “Month of Outrage” this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Wendy’s (4114 Tamiami Trail N.) in Naples!

Ready to turn up the heat on Wendy’s in your community?  Write us at organize (at) sfalliance.org to share your boycott action plans and reportbacks – and stay tuned to read all about the exciting actions the Fair Food Nation puts on this month!

Workers’ Voice Tour resounds one powerful message nationwide: “Boycott Wendy’s!”

The Workers’ Voice Tour is a wrap! Converging yet again for another powerful major action, farmworkers, students, young people and communities across the country poured into the streets by the hundreds in support of the recently-declared national Wendy’s Boycott

The decades-long relationship of student/worker solidarity between SFA and CIW bloomed as colorful as ever during the Workers’ Voice Tour. And as word of the Wendy’s Boycott spreads like wildfire in communities, schools and universities across the country, SFAers will keep fighting alongside CIW to make it known that the longer Wendy’s holds out on joining the Fair Food Program, the more consumers they will lose to this growing national boycott. 

We are taught that history tends to repeat itself. And just as students and young people fought alongside farmworkers until victory during the Taco Bell boycott more than a decade ago, today, we are more than prepared to take on Wendy’s – and win. Not only do we stand on a foundation of over 15 years of grassroots organizing and community building, but our truth is reinforced with the Fair Food Program’s impressive – and proven – track record for transforming human rights for farmworkers in U.S. agriculture. 

Be sure to check out the CIW’s video highlights from each stop along the way – and if you haven’t done so already sign the pledge to boycott Wendy’s until the lone fast food holdout joins its competitors in the Fair Food Program. 

New York City
The first stop in the Workers' Voice Tour made history as hundreds marched loud and strong through the streets of Manhattan with a loud and unified message: From now until Wendy's commits to respecting farmworker rights, thousands of farmworkers and consumers commit to boycotting Wendy’s! Students from Manhattanville College, the CUNY system, Fordham, New York University, Union Theological Seminary and dozens of high schoolers traveling from Brooklyn and as far as Rhode Island joined fellow Fair Food supporters shouting over and over again: "Boycott Wendy's!" 

Columbus, OH
Moving onward to the Buckeye State, more than 500 farmworkers, students, people of faith, fellow workers, and consumers converged to march across the heart of downtown Columbus, stopping at a Wendy’s across The Ohio State University campus — with members and students of Real Food Challenge chapters, Ohio University, University of Dayton, Denison University, John Carroll University, Antioch College, the Ohio Student Association and, of course, OSU present. The vibrant, thundering crowd held their ground in front of the Wendy's as OSU students and broader Columbus residents walked by, learned more about the boycott and showed support.

International Women’s Day
As the Workers’ Voice Tour continued to make its way south, disseminating farmworkers’ demand for dignity and respect across the Midwest, the tour team took pause to deeply reflect on the movement for farmworker justice and the interrelated struggles being fought worldwide to usher in a new day for all workers. The CIW's own powerful women leaders under the shade of strong, interconnected oak trees, created beautiful, vulnerable moments that embraced and united an already tight group of participants.

Louisville, KY
The tour also included stops at a couple universities where students have been boycotting Wendy's for the past year and leading campaigns to "Boot the Braids.” The first university stop at the University of Louisville gathered nearly 100 farmworkers, Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance and Louisville allies who have stood with the CIW since the early Taco Bell days for the first-ever letter delegation to the Wendy's manager on campus.

Gainesville, FL
In a powerful outpouring of student solidarity with farmworkers, 200+ strong marched on the Wendy’s at the University of Florida campus to amplify the student-led Boot the Braids campaign, aiming to end the university’s contractual relationship with Wendy’s until they respect farmworkers’ rights and sign the Fair Food Agreement. Student and youth-led organizations such as CHISPAS, UF Dream Defenders, Students for Justice in Palestine led the charge and committed to keep fighting until Wendy’s no longer had a home on their campus. 

Palm Beach, FL
After 10 days, five cities, thousands of miles, and countless allies taking action to join CIW’s national boycott of Wendy’s, the Workers’ Voice Tour culminated in a massive march through the heart of the vacation town of Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz in Palm Beach, FL. Presente were members and students from Dream Defenders Squadds, Southeastern University, St. Thomas University, Notre Dame College, University of Central Florida, Rollins College, University of South Florida andUniversity of Florida – and special guest Ethel Kennedy – marching alongside CIW to bring the message of justice home to Peltz and other Wendy’s decision-makers.

BREAKING: CIW declares national boycott of Wendy's!

Elena Stein
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
elena@allianceforfairfood.org | 239-986-0688

Farmworkers, Consumers Declare National Boycott of Wendy’s

Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food Calls on World’s Third Largest Hamburger Chain to Join Award-Winning Fair Food Program

New York, NY:  On Thursday, March 3, hundreds of farmworkers, religious leaders, students, and consumers will gather near Columbus Circle to launch a national boycott of Wendy’s, the world’s third largest hamburger chain.  Following the boycott announcement, the protesters will march from Columbus Circle to the Park Avenue offices of Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz, Founding Partner and CEO of the activist hedge fund Trian Partners and a major shareholder in Wendy’s. 

The boycott, only the second in the history of the Campaign for Fair Food, has been necessitated by Wendy’s steadfast refusal to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program (FFP).  The FFP is a groundbreaking social responsibility program that has won recognition from the White House to the United Nations for its unique success in addressing decades-old farm labor abuses.  All of Wendy’s major competitors in the fast-food industry – McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell and Chipotle – have already joined the Fair Food Program. 

The CIW is calling for consumers to boycott Wendy’s because:  

  1. Wendy’s has shifted its purchases from Florida to Mexico:  Wendy’s has not only refused to join the FFP, but has stopped buying tomatoes from Florida altogether following the implementation of the Fair Food Program there.  Rather than support US growers setting new standards for human rights in the agricultural industry, Wendy's took its tomato purchases to Mexico, where the widespread denial of human rights in the produce industry was the subject of an in-depth expose by the Los Angeles Times just one year ago. 
  2. Wendy’s has chosen public relations over human rights protections:  Instead of joining the Fair Food Program and its widely-acclaimed, uniquely successful worker-driven model of social responsibility, Wendy’s released a new supplier code of conduct this past January that contains no effective mechanisms for worker participation or enforcement.  Wendy’s new code represents the very worst of the traditional corporate approach to social responsibility driven by public relations concerns rather than the verifiable protection of human rights.
  3. Wendy’s is profiting from farmworker poverty:  Wendy’s stands alone as the last of the five major US fast food corporations to refuse to join the FFP: McDonald’s, Yum! Brands, Subway, and Burger King are all part of the Program.  By refusing to participate, Wendy's is deriving a very real cost advantage over its competitors, while continuing to provide a market for less reputable growers.

The launch of the boycott marks the beginning of the CIW’s five-city Workers’ Voice Tour, which builds on a three-year consumer campaign and a year-long national student boycott of Wendy’s. 

In a statement, CIW’s Cruz Salucio said, “Ten years ago, we sent a letter to Wendy’s asking them to follow Taco Bell’s example and work with us to protect farmworkers’ fundamental human rights in their supply chain.  They refused then, and they continue to turn their backs on farmworkers to this day, even as we built a groundbreaking new approach to social responsibility in partnership with Florida tomato growers and fourteen other major food retailers.  Instead, Wendy’s stands alone in deciding to pull its purchases from the Florida tomato industry altogether and abandon its longtime suppliers for participating in what has been called ‘one of the great human rights success stories of our day’ in the Washington Post.”  

“Of course, in light of the Fair Food Program’s unparalleled success in eliminating longstanding human rights violations in the fields, it is preferable at this point for companies looking for solutions to abuses in their supply chains to come to the program of their own volition.  By now, protests and boycotts should be no longer necessary,” added Lupe Gonzalo of the CIW.

She continued, “But when companies like Wendy’s remain so stubbornly stuck in the past, committed to a path of empty public relations promises over real human rights protections, we are left with no choice.  The Campaign for Fair Food is prepared to mobilize consumer action in support of real worker-driven social responsibility, and we will prevail, because more and more, transparency and food justice are becoming the hallmarks of the 21st century food market."

What: March to the office of Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz to declare a national consumer boycott of Wendy’s and call on the fast food giant to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ award-winning Fair Food Program

Where: March begins at W 58th St. between 8th and 9th Ave, near Columbus Circle, and ends at Trian Partners (280 Park Ave) in Midtown Manhattan

When: Thursday, March 3 at 4 PM

About the Fair Food Program:  The Fair Food Program, created by the Presidential Medal-winning Coalition of Immokalee Workers, is a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and fourteen major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart, heralded as “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US on the front page of the New York Times.  Participating retailers agree to purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment.  Retailers also pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out directly to workers by their employers. Since the Program’s inception in 2011, buyers have paid over $20 million into the FFP.   In 2015, the Program expanded for the first time beyond Florida to tomato fields in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, and in the 2015-2016 season, the Fair Food Program expanded to two new Florida crops, strawberries and bell peppers. 

### END ###

We're hiring a staff member to live and work at the epicenter of the Fair Food Nation!

Please spread the word! The Alliance for Fair Food is seeking an Immokalee-based staff member to help coordinate the national Campaign for Fair Food. Consider applying or encouraging someone you know to apply! You or they could join the Immokalee team in working on one of the most dynamic and successful struggles of our day.

Areas of work include:

  • Campaign strategy 
  • National mobilizations
  • Education, outreach and leadership development
  • Organizing with a broad network of organizations and individuals, including but not limited to people of faith or food justice movements
  • Organizational operations (fundraising, communications, etc.)
  • Support for CIW and the farmworker community

Read the full description and request an application. Deadline for the staff application is April 6, 2016. 

If you have any interest or know someone who you think may be a good fit, please forward this to them and reach out to us! You can write us at organize@allianceforfairfood.org or call Claire at 239-313-1081. 

Given our commitment to developing a diverse leadership, we strongly encourage people of color, women, working-class, LGBTQ, gender non-conforming, and differently-abled people to apply.

Thanks for helping us spread the word!

2015 Fair Food Program Annual Report now available for download!

The 2015 Fair Food Program Annual Report has been published – and is available for download!

Issued by the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the yearly assessment of the state of the Program is the best source for analyses and conclusions on the transformations taking root in the U.S. agricultural industry. If you’re interested in understanding the ins and outs of how the Fair Food Program functions in practice, this is the single best annual resource to get your hands on!

Here’s a brief window into its reporting:

Since 2011, the Fair Food Program has brought about many far-reaching reforms across the Florida tomato industry.

In the span of just four years:

  • CIW has educated nearly 35,000 workers at 400 face-to-face sessions, and reached 150,000 workers with written and video materials, on their rights within the Program;

  • Workers have brought forth over 1,100 complaints under the Code of Conduct, resulting in the resolution of abuses ranging from sexual harassment and verbal abuse to systemic wage violations, demonstrating workers’ trust that reported problems will be investigated and corrected;

  • FFSC has issued nearly 120 comprehensive reports and corrective action plans – based on 12,000 worker interviews during audits ranging from two days to two weeks and all operational, management and financial systems reviews – in order to assess and improve Participating Growers’ implementation of the Code of Conduct; and

  • Participating Buyers have paid nearly $20 million in Fair Food Premiums to improve workers' wages.

During the 2014-2015 season, FFSC conducted comprehensive baseline audits of seven Participating Grower operations in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. 

Charts like this illuminate the efficacy of the complaint resolution system, which, as shown above, resolved 100% of filed complaints in 2015, most in less than two weeks.

If you like reading testimonies, analyzing numbers, and valuing measurable change, download and share the Annual Report far and wide.

Aside from facts and figures, the report includes narratives that demonstrate the powerful impact the Program has had in the livelihood and work environment of farmworkers: 

Isabel, a 30-year-old farmworker in Florida, told an investigative reporter: “Before, we would hear about a contractor or supervisor who would take women to a private place, to the edge of the field, and we understood that sexual assault was what was happening,” she said. “Now, we aren’t hearing these stories in the same way we used to.”

The Annual Report is proof that the agreements that have been won through years of community organizing in Immokalee, and then years of farmworkers, students and youth fighting side by side in the Campaign for Fair Food, are transforming the agricultural industry not only in Florida, but throughout the East Coast as well, for tens of thousands of workers. Take a look, and join us for the next big step in the Campaign as SFAers across the country get ready for all the action that will be jam-packed into the 2016 Workers' Voice Tour!

VIDEO REPORT: Scores of SFAers break up with Wendy's on Valentine's Day Weekend!

The videos are in – and it isn't looking too cute for Wendy’s! The lone fast food holdout was left rather, well, lonely, this Valentine's Day Weekend, as dozens upon dozens of videos came rolling through the interwebs, relaying one heartfelt message to Wendy's: "Until you join the Fair Food Program, it's over!" 

For over three years, thousands of farmworkers, students, young people and communities have demanded that Wendy's make a true and verifiable commitment to respecting the dignity of farmworkers in their supply chain. And time and time again, Wendy's has only trampled upon and rejected those demands by neglecting its responsibility to human rights.  

As if that weren't enough, the fast food restaurant abandoned the Florida tomato industry last year, consciously choosing to do business outside of the Fair Food Program, and in turn, continuing to profit from farmworker poverty and exploitation. And now Wendy's is trying to lead on consumers to believing their products are produced under ethical human rights practices with the release of their aspirational Supplier Code of Conduct

And so, this V-Day Weekend, the Fair Food Nation decided enough is enough and staged a massive online breakup action from Immokalee to New York to Denver and even Puerto Rico – and it was all caught on tape! Students across the country voiced their break up with Wendy’s loud and proud, ditching its products, until they join the Fair Food Program. Check out the must-see round up of some of the finest – and funniest – clips:



BALTIMORE, MD – Real Food Challenge


COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio State University Student/Farmworker Alliance


LAKELAND, FL – Southeastern University


ORLANDO, FL – Youth & Young Adult Network of National Farmworker Ministry


WASHINGTON, DC – Georgetown University


GAINESVILLE, FL – CHISPAS at University of Florida






Pittsburgh, PA – Duquense University


And to cap off the video madness, honorary CIW Member Chuey expresses his disappointment with Wendy's with a painful but stern, "Don't even look at me...." 


These public breakup videos are just another rung on the ladder of SFA's national student boycott against Wendy's, which is set to reach new heights as thousands of students and young people across the country gear up to take action alongside farmworkers during the upcoming Workers' Voice Tour. Register to join the Immokalee caravan along the way, stay up-to-date on the schedule over at the tour site, or hit us up at organize@sfalliance.org to hop on a caravan to Columbus or Palm Beach. 

See you on tour, Wendy’s! 

CALL TO ACTION: Break up with Wendy's during Valentine's Day Weekend, Feb. 12-14!


For over three years, thousands of farmworkers, students and young people across the country have given Wendy’s one too many chances to make it work by demanding that the fast food holdout do its part to strengthen and expand the never-before-seen rights farmworkers are protecting in the fields today. Last Valentine’s Day, the Fair Food Nation bombarded Wendy’s with Fair Food messages, making it known that Wendy’s flashy new image won’t work as a distraction to their inaction in taking responsibility for farmworker abuses in its supply chain. And since then, the Student/Farmworker Alliance declared a national student boycott of Wendy’s, and thousands have been fighting Wendy’s frosty heart for human rights with frozen wallets. 

And recently, Wendy’s released a glossy – and completely shallow – Supplier Code of Conduct, in an attempt to swoon customers and wash over real, verifiable Worker-driven Social Responsibility with a flimsy set of wishful thinking standards and no enforcement mechanisms in place to support them. And so, as the kickoff to the CIW’s Workers’ Voice Tour nears, SFA is once again reminding Wendy’s that students are done with its square burgers, frostys and empty promises until they join the Fair Food Program! 

This Valentine’s Day Weekend, take action alongside Fair Food allies from coast to coast 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 breaking up with Wendy’s this V-Day. Upload your 30-second video to Facebook or Instagram, or send it over to organize@sfalliance.org. Don’t forget to tag @Wendys and @sfalliance! 

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend of Action!