Students across the country gear up for a week of coordinated protests to expose human rights abuses in Wendy’s produce supply chain and demand a commitment to the Fair Food Program!
Earlier this summer, caving to massive pressure generated by the Fair Food movement’s national boycott, Wendy’s announced its decision to move the vast majority of its tomato purchasing away from the Mexican tomato industry to U.S. and Canadian greenhouses by year end. But we, as young people and steadfast allies to the CIW, are far from being fooled by Wendy's new tomato sourcing strategy.
Contrary to the misinformation released by Wendy's, including the claim of the"inherent benefits of safe, indoor working conditions" in greenhouse operations, this shift is nothing more than another PR ploy to deceive consumers. As CIW debunked early on, greenhouses do not inherently shield farmworkers from sexual violence and exploitation — and without meaningful enforcement and monitoring, abuses will undoubtedly flourish with impunity.
Wendy’s: we’re on to your empty sustainability rhetoric and your phony auditing schemes and we’re not going anywhere!
As the school season kicks back up, we are mobilizing our campuses and communities to pull back the curtain on Wendy’s shameful façade of social responsibility and expose the truth behind the tomato that tops a Dave’s Single.
We’re calling for a national week of action from Oct. 22-28 to demand real transparency and verifiable protections against sexual harassment, forced labor and other human rights abuses in Wendy’s produce supply chain. And, inspired by the CIW’s brilliant tradition of using popular education and theater as a tool to organize, agitate and raise consciousness among farmworkers and consumers, we’re inviting SFAers to include a theater skit about the Wendy’s Boycott as part of the protest!
Here are three ways YOU can participate:
1. Hit the streets — Organize a creative action at your local Wendy’s or on your campus, and perform a theater piece to amplify your message! Whether you’re planning a vibrant march, an energetic picket or another type of demonstration, be sure to reach out to us for resources and support at email@example.com.
2. Educate your community about the boycott — Plan a “teach-in” about the fight for Fair Food or invite a farmworker leader of the CIW and an SFA member to give a presentation on your campus! Educational events are a great outreach tool to spread the word about the boycott, recruit new members to join organizing efforts on campus, and build up hype before action day. You could also test run your teatro skills at the event.
3. Post your theater performance on social media — As Wendy’s trolls the Internet with snarky comebacks and cheap deal promotions, let's put the fast-food giant’s dirt on blast by posting your performance online using #BoycottWendys! Oh, and don’t forget to @Wendys.
As Wendy’s target market, we won’t conform to theatrical announcements and empty promises. We are not mindless props for corporate profits, and we demand justice for the women and men whose backbreaking labor in the fields makes it possible for Wendy’s executives to line their pockets. The battle against Wendy’s is far from over, and now pushes forward with more righteous urgency than ever before. Join us!
Drop a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re planning on taking action from Oct. 22-28. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for an organizing kit, including a guide to preparing your theater performance, a sample press release and more!
And if you haven’t done so already, apply for the 2018 SFA Encuentro convening from Sept. 20-23 in Immokalee, FL, where we’ll dive deeper into strategy plans for pulling back the curtain on Wendy’s. Applications are due September 1.
Following Wendy’s move to repatriate its tomato purchases from Mexico in response to consumers’ human rights concerns – but continued refusal to join the Fair Food Program – farmworkers and allies prepare to turn up the heat on the company’s leadership in the Big Apple!
Mark your calendars, Fair Food Nation!
On July 19, Immokalee farmworkers and their families will return to Manhattan for a major march to demand that Wendy’s, the final fast food hold-out from the Fair Food Program, make an unequivocal commitment to human rights, once and for all. We invite you to join us in New York City as we return to Nelson Peltz’s now-storied offices at Trian Partners, 280 Park Ave., to bring Wendy’s all the way home to the Fair Food Program! Here’s all the details you need to make your plans:
THURSDAY, JULY 19 AT 5PM
TRIAN PARTNERS (280 PARK AVE, NEAR E 49TH ST.)
If you’re interested in supporting the mobilization or in organizing a caravan to NYC, get in touch at: email@example.com!
Here below is the full scoop on the upcoming action:
Only a few short months ago in March, over 2,000 farmworkers and their consumer allies – from New York and around the country – marched in Manhattan in a powerful display of support for the CIW’s five-day Freedom Fast, a fast carried out by nearly 100 farmworkers and allies on the sidewalk outside of Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz’s hedge fund offices on Park Avenue. The fasters were calling on Wendy’s to pull its tomato purchases from the Mexican produce industry, where sexual violence against women and other human rights violations are endemic and go unchecked. Instead, the Fair Food Nation was calling on Wendy’s to return to Florida’s tomato industry, where the company’s former suppliers have implemented the award-winning Fair Food Program in partnership with the CIW, transforming the fields into “the best working environment in U.S. agriculture”.
In June, bowing to the pressure generated by the farmworkers’ campaign — including a petition that collected well over 100,000 consumer signatures in support of their demands – Wendy’s came half-way home. In a major announcement earlier this month at its annual shareholder meeting in Ohio, Wendy’s declared its intention to repatriate its tomato purchases from Mexico. It did not, however, agree to join the Fair Food Program. Instead, Wendy’s announced that it would be shifting its purchases to greenhouses in the US and Canada.
Without a doubt, halting purchases from one of the hemisphere’s most abusive produce industries represents a step in the right direction, and the move is proof that when workers and consumers join forces to make their concerns about sexual violence and other human rights violations heard, Wendy’s has no choice but to listen. Indeed, Wendy’s cited the growing focus on “working conditions for tomato farmworkers” driven by the efforts of the “CIW and other associated organizations” as one of the principal reasons for the move. However, Wendy’s decision to continue evading the award-winning Fair Food Program, and instead rely on non-FFP farms and a discredited model of superficial third-party auditing to monitor its supply chain, is unacceptable.
Contrary to Wendy’s claims, greenhouses do not in themselves shield farmworkers from the abuse and poverty experienced in the fields. And infrequent third-party audits lacking worker participation or effective enforcement mechanisms have been proven time and time again insufficient to guarantee a workplace free of exploitation
By refusing to accept Wendy’s patently hollow claims that labor conditions in Mexico were decent and that is monitoring systems were up to the job of enforcing human rights, we compelled a multi-billion dollar retail food chain to move its entire tomato supply chain out of a country where violence, corruption, and impunity are the rule. That is a victory for human rights, won through consciousness and the tireless commitment to action of countess farmworkers and allies
But it is not a complete victory, and now it is time to cross the finish line.
Neither farmworkers nor consumers will settle for anything less than the worker-driven Fair Food Program and its verifiable guarantee of fundamental human rights for the women and men who harvest our produce. What’s more, we will not allow Wendy’s or Board Chair Nelson Peltz to turn their backs on farmworker women and men’s urgent demands for justice, respect, and true partnership.
Application is live for the 2018 Student/Farmworker Alliance Encuentro: Hasta la Raíz "Down to the Root,” set for September 20-23 in Immokalee, FL!
This year, 2018, marks 25 years since the birth of the CIW’s tremendous struggle to uproot generations of exploitation in the fields. This historic farmworker-led organization has transformed labor conditions for tens of thousands of workers in the U.S. agricultural industry through the Fair Food Program, creating an international blueprint to eradicate and prevent abuses, from wage theft to sexual assault, in the workplace.
But this work was not done alone. Together with farmworkers, students, young people and community allies have strategized and organized to bring corporation after corporation to the negotiating table with CIW.
This year's Encuentro gathering will go Hasta la Raíz "Down to the Root" of this incredible history to reflect on lessons CIW and SFA have drawn from past victories and build upon them as the Wendy's Boycott surges on with more force than ever before.
The moment for us to come together couldn't be more perfectly timed. Just last Tuesday, SFAers and CIW members packed the house at Wendy's annual shareholder meeting, where the company unveiled plans to shift its tomato purchases (yet again) to greenhouse operations in the U.S.
The fact that one of the world's largest buyers pulled nearly all its business from the abuse-ridden Mexican tomato industry is a victory in itself, and let there be no doubt that our movement pushed Wendy’s to make this drastic decision. Now, we must fight harder than ever to push Wendy's over the edge to sign a Fair Food Agreement with the CIW.
From September 20-23, we're bringing together brilliant young organizers from across the country to devise a winning strategy in the Wendy’s Boycott. At the Encuentro, we will build our organizing skills and leadership as a network, learn directly from the farmworker community in Immokalee, and delve deep into SFA’s rich history in the Campaign for Fair Food.
See you in Immokalee!
- the immokalee crew
Tomorrow, June 5th, Wendy’s executives will be meeting with shareholders at their headquarters in Dublin, Ohio — and whether they like it or not, Fair Food is going to be squarely at the top of the agenda. As we write, dozens of farmworker families are on the road to Columbus, readying to join scores of allies from across the Midwest at Wendy’s doorstep for a high-energy protest calling on the fast-food giant to join the Fair Food Program.
Whether you’re headed to Columbus or reading this at home, you can add your voice to the growing Fair Food chorus today. We’ve proven time and time again that even the world’s largest corporations can be held accountable for their failure to protect the human rights of farmworkers in their supply chains — but it takes concerted action to make ourselves heard.
Tomorrow, farmworkers and their allies — many of whom fasted for five days in frigid temperatures outside of Board Chairman Nelson Peltz’s offices just a few months ago — will confront the fast food giant’s top executives face-to-face, including Mr. Peltz. Today, YOU can amplify farmworkers’ message, and make sure Wendy’s knows that the women and men who harvest our food are not alone in this fight.
Help us reach our goal of over 400 emails in the next 24 hours. If everyone reading this message sent an email right now, we’d send ten times that many. Here’s how:
- Click here to head over to our action page where you’ll find an email form
- Add your name, contact information, and a short message
- Hit send!
And then — please share the action far and wide!
The spring semester may be winding down with finals just around the corner, but the vibrant student/farmworker movement to end sexual violence in the fields is still going hard! Last Thursday, students from nearly 30 schools around the country ushered in the month of April, observed nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, by bridging the struggle to wipe out sexual harassment against women from campus to the fields — and holding Wendy's (and university administrations that continue doing business as usual with the fast-food company) accountable for failing to protect farmworker women!
Today, we bring you exciting highlights from the "It's On Wendy's" National Day of Action, which made waves in 26 cities from Oakland, California to Miami, FL to Providence, Rhode Island, after Wendy's blunder of epic proportions — the company's spokesperson Heidi Schauer went on record accusing farmworker women of "trying to exploit" the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Students fought back — on the Internet and in the streets — declaring that CIW farmworker women are central leaders in the national movement against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and demanding that Wendy's join the industry standard for effectively combatting gender-based violence in the fields: the Fair Food Program!
Gainesville, FL — University of Florida
First up, students at the University of Florida ramped up their Boot the Braids campaign with a colorful march from the Reitz Union, home to one of two on-campus Wendy's, to the office of President W. Kent Fuchs requesting an in-person meeting. Four days before the march, UF senior and SFAer Lucero Ruballos published a bold open letter to the President on behalf of dozens of concerned UF students, faculty and alumni in the widely-read daily student newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator:
"...UF does not tolerate sexual harassment and abuse of any kind on campus. No questions asked. So why put UF’s reputation at risk by meddling in business with a company that unconscionably refuses to take meaningful action to eradicate sexual violence and other human rights abuse in its supply chain?
It is no secret that thousands of farmworker women are forced into silence by the grabbing clutches of fear, violence and corruption that define the agricultural industry in Mexico.
In the era of #MeToo, we must lift up real, enforceable solutions to stamp out and prevent sexual harassment and assault in the workplace — and hold corporate giants like Wendy’s responsible for failing to rid their supply chains of human rights violations.
As stakeholders of all matters tied to UF, we will not accept the influence and presence of a fast-food brand on campus that looks the other way as farmworker women sacrifice their dignity to feed their families..."
As the march's bright yellow flags and red, tomato-shaped protest signs made their way across UF's Spanish moss-covered campus, members of CHISPAS UF, Lucha Latina and the Hispanic Student Association, chanted and handed out hundreds of flyers spreading the message of the Boot the Braids campaign to passersby. Upon arrival, a delegation of student leaders, including HSA President-elect Brenda Villanueva, and CIW's own Nely Rodriguez, entered a sit-down meeting with Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Kay Carodine, who showed face on the President's behalf. She promised to set up a meeting between the students and Mr. Fuchs and pass along their firm demand to immediately remove Wendy's from campus until the company joins the Fair Food Program!
Providence, RI — Brown University
Brown University students — just a few weeks after helping to mobilize over 90 students and youth from across the Northeast to the Time's Up Wendy's March in New York City — held a lunchtime speak out with over 40 people, drawing out the gross connections between hedge fund Trian Partners, directed by Wendy's Board Chair Nelson Peltz and one of Brown's largest corporate donors, Mondelez International Inc.
They declared: "The same corporate money used to oppress farmworkers runs through the very veins of our university. We, the students, have therefore benefited [from Peltz's backward business deals] which intimately ties us even further to the call for solidarity with farmworker women and men who are being exploited by Peltz and his investments." (Be sure to also check out this incredible podcast on the CIW's Freedom Fast produced by Brown student Lauren Black!)
New York City — New York University
On the heels of an unforgettable march in New York City with over 2,000 farmworkers and allies, NYU Peer Health Exchange marched from NYU Kimmel Stairs through Washington Square Park and down Broadway to the local Wendy's. The students attempted to deliver a "red-dot" to the manager representing the unsafe working conditions and excessive levels of sexual abuse that farmworker women suffer in Mexico's fields, Wendy's produce industry of choice. Students chanted and distributed flyers, spreading the message that New Yorkers will continue to #BoycottWendys until Wendy's Board Chair Nelson Peltz, who lives and works in the city, does something to eliminate violence in his company's supply chain!
Nashville, TN — Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Nashville State Community College
Students from four major Nashville schools and members of Workers' Dignity teamed up for an energetic picket and manager letter delivery at a local Wendy's to express their beef with Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, who has refused to cut ties with a company that profits from labor rights violations, including sexual violence and forced labor, in Mexico's tomato industry.
Columbus, OH — Ohio State University
The unstoppable OSU SFA crew organized a (successful!) letter delivery to the local Wendy's across campus. Colorful as ever, the group chanted, sang Fair Food tunes and handed out flyers exposing Wendy's and OSU's complicity in ongoing sexual violence against women farmworkers to hundreds of Columbus community members who walked by the busy High Street thoroughfare — several whom committed to #BoycottWendys on the spot!
Washington, DC — Georgetown University, American University and George Washington University
Members of DC Fair Food, DC International Workers of the World and students from three major DC universities — Georgetown University, American University and George Washington University — came together to declare that #ItsOnWendys to stop spreading lies about the CIW and end workplace harassment and assault in its supply chain! In an interview with On the Ground, SFA Steering Committee member Sara Policastro rebukes Wendy's wild accusation that CIW is "trying to exploit" the momentum of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements: "[This is] an outrageous thing to say about a group of women of color who for decades have been pioneering this work and have been at the forefront of ending abuses in the fields..."
After the picket, the group participated in a solidarity march with #HUResist student activists who occupied Howard University's administration building for over a week after an embezzlement scandal broke involving theft of $1 million in financial aid funding.
St. Petersburg, FL — Eckerd College
Eckerd College students marched from campus to their local Wendy's affirming their commitment to #BoycottWendys until the fast-food company respects the dignity of farmworker women!
Athens, OH – Ohio University
Ohio University student Lori Boegershausen joined her peers from Ohio University with a video posted from Athens, OH!
Sarasota, FL — New College of Florida
New College students and Sarasota Fair Food members pulled off an exciting twofer action, marching from Publix to Wendy's through one of the busiest streets in town! Santiago Perez of the CIW supported the students' action as they took turns voicing their disgust over Wendy's ridiculous attack on the farmworker community in Immokalee and demonstrated their resolve to keep up the fight until the fast food holdout finally gets with the Program.
Chapel Hill, NC — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC Chapel Hill students, along with Durham-based Student Action with Farmworkers, organized a march from the main campus quad to the Wendy's at the Graham Student Union, demanding that President Carol Folt stop allowing UNC to do business with a crooked corporation that profits from the suffering of farmworker women and Boot the Braids once and for all.
Charlotte, NC — Latin American Coalition
With a beautiful day-dawning banner with the words "We're in the fight for a better future" inscribed above and below, a coalition of groups including Action NC, Latin American Coalition, and Communications Workers of America paused their march in honor of farmworker organizers for 20 minutes to picket, demonstrate, and attempt to enter and deliver a letter to their local Wendy's. The group also debuted a larger-than-life manager letter to ensure everyone who drove by learned about the Wendy's Boycott!
Longtime CIW allies in Oakland made an appearance outside their local Wendy's with colorful protest signs and Fair Food jams to spread the message of the national boycott with passersby and the manager on duty. If you haven't done so already, don't miss these rockin' boycott-inspired remixes by SFA troubadour Liz Fitzgerald, who livened fasters' spirits on the final day of the Freedom Fast last month.
Rio Grande Valley, TX — Fuerza del Valle
After mobilizing a bus of compañerxs from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to the CIW's Freedom Fast in New York City, our friends at Fuerza del Valle stepped up to the plate, scheduling back-to-back Food Chains screenings at South Texas College and UT RGV and organizing a #BoycottWendys action in Harlingen.
Notre Dame, IN — Notre Dame University
Notre Dame SFA participated in the national Day of Action by symbolically marking their local Wendy's as a "red-dot" zone, associating the brand with the violent crimes against women that go unchecked every day in the Mexican agricultural industry where Wendy's buys its tomatoes. The growing chapter pledges to take action in the boycott until Wendy's becomes a "green-dot" establishment, like their own university, and takes meaningful steps to ensure that farmworkers in its supply chain are working free from sexual violence.
Pittsburgh, PA — Duquesne University
Duq SFA came through with an ambitious caravan action: the crew hit up all seven Wendy's locations in Pittsburgh delivered pledges to boycott until the fast-food chain joins the CIW's Fair Food Program.
Miami, FL — Barry University
Barry University students, joined by CIW's Julia de la Cruz, successfully delivered a letter to their local manager in Miami.
Cleveland, OH - John Carroll University
At John Carroll University students gathered 129 signatures on a Wendy's manager letter in a just a few short days. Wanting to communicate that Wendy's stands in the way of farmworker justice, the students took their letter to a local Wendy's manager who would not accept it. But this isn't holding them back! Next, the small but mighty group will be sending their collected signatures directly to Wendy's headquarters in Dublin, OH.
Boston, MA — Harvard University and Tufts University
Students from the Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition passed out over 100 flyers at the Wendy's downtown, educating the local community about CIW's national Wendy's Boycott. The group attempted to deliver a letter to the manager, making clear that the Campaign for Fair Food will keep picking up steam in Boston until Wendy's comes to the table with farmworkers.
Southwest Florida — Florida Gulf Coast University and Immokalee High School
And to bring it all home, check out the beautiful photos from last Saturday's electric "It's On Wendy's" action in sunny Southwest Florida! Dozens of Florida farmworkers, their families and FGCU students hit the streets to demand justice from Wendy's and Publix for the women and men who harvest the food that ends up on our tables!
The photos speak for themselves, but we'll give the last word to Arletys Gomez, a student leader from the FGCU SFA chapter:
"As college students we have firsthand experience in the fight against sexual violence, and we know how important it is to allow women a voice and access to rights in the face of injustice. If we don’t tolerate sexual assault on our campus, why should we tolerate it in the fields?
We won’t allow Wendy’s to continue denying our voices, to continue turning a blind eye to sexual abuse faced by farmworker women. It has gone on for too long, and today we are taking a stand!"
26 actions confirmed & counting!
From Miami to Oakland, students are demanding that Wendy's respect the rights of women farmworkers. Check out the map below to find a protest near you or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan your own!
Following last week’s incredible Freedom Fast outside the hedge fund offices of Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz in New York City, in which over 80 farmworkers and allies demanded Wendy's join the Fair Food Program to end sexual harassment and assault against women in the fields, Wendy’s took a desperate stab at a public response.
And miserably failed.
On Wednesday, Wendy’s Director of Corporate Communications Heidi Schauer (if she still holds this position) went on record in the Huffington Post accusing CIW farmworker women leaders of “trying to exploit the positive momentum that has been generated by and for women in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement to advance their interests.”
It didn’t take long for the Internet to clap back at Wendy’s disgusting accusation. Most notably, Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano slammed the fast-food giant on Facebook over the outrageous comment:
After that, it was all downhill for Wendy’s. Here are just a few major publications that have picked up the story in the last 24 hours:
- ELLE Magazine, "The #BoycottWendys Controversy, Explained"
- People.com, "Alyssa Milano Slams Wendy's 'Outrageous' Response Amid Farmworkers' Protest of Fast Food Chain"
- Instyle, "Alyssa Milano Calls for Wendy’s Boycott"
Wendy’s shameless attack on farmworker women not only hit a nerve with leaders in the entertainment industry, but unsurprisingly sparked outrage among students and young people, the prized demographic the company brazenly flaunts as its target market.
Students and young people are gearing up for battle — and we’re fighting back with a National Day of Action on April 5 declaring “It’s On Wendy’s!”
It’s on Wendy’s to retract their wild accusation that farmworker women are “exploiting” the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements in order to avoid backlash for refusing to join the Fair Food Program, the world’s golden standard for eliminating and preventing sexual abuse in the agricultural industry.
It’s on Wendy’s to take responsibility for unconscionably choosing to partner with the Mexican tomato industry, where impunity for crimes of sexual violence in the fields forces women farmworkers into an endless cycle of silence and abuse.
And so, it’s on us — the brilliant grassroots network of students and young people that fuel action in CIW’s national Wendy’s Boycott — to mobilize our campuses in support of farmworker women’s rights.
Join the Student/Farmworker Alliance on April 5 in expanding the “red-dot” campaign, where students are marking campus maps with red dots representing an act of sexual violence, to include Wendy’s restaurants. Organize a march to Wendy’s, and deliver a big red dot to the local manager as a badge of shame for the fast-food giant’s refusal to end sexual violence in its supply chain by joining the Fair Food Program.
Reach out to us at email@example.com for an organizing kit to help plan your action, including a sample press release, social media resources and a creative actions guide. And be sure to check back next week for a map of confirmed actions near you.
It’s on, Wendy’s!