Fair Food Nation prepares to unveil the truth behind Wendy's square burgers in over a dozen cities next week...

 CIW allies in Houston lay out freshly-painted artwork in preparation for the 2018 “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action.

CIW allies in Houston lay out freshly-painted artwork in preparation for the 2018 “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action.

Teach-ins, theater pieces and protests confirmed in New York, Columbus, Ann Arbor, Ft. Myers, Chapel Hill, Houston, Providence, Washington, Miami… just to name a few! 

With the academic year now in full swing — and after over 80 students and young people spent a long weekend of strategizing in Immokalee, FL, during the 2018 Encuentro — the Fair Food Nation is ready to kick off the semester with a bang! Next week, from Oct. 22-28, CIW allies across the country will be staging teach-ins, theater skits and direct actions from California to New York as part of the "Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy's" National Week of Action.

We're exposing the sexual violence and exploitation behind Wendy's square burgers… But guess what, Wendy's? Your act is up!

So far, over a dozen cities, from Orange, California to Gainesville, Florida, have answered the call — and counting:

Tallahassee, FL – Sunday, October 21
Contact: lk16b@my.fsu.edu

Tampa, FL Tuesday, October 23
Contact: tbfairfood@gmail.com

Chapel Hill, NC Thursday, October 25
Contact: biancao@sfalliance.org

Columbus, OH Thursday, October 25
Contact: rachael@sfalliance.org, alexh@sfalliance.org

Gainesville, FL Thursday, October 25
Contact: chispasuf@gmail.com

Ann Arbor, MI Friday, October 26
Contact: kim@sfalliance.org

Washington DC Saturday, October 27
Contact: beno@sfalliance.org

New York City Saturday, October 27
Contact: oceanjeremy@gmail.com

Fort Myers, FL Saturday, October 27
Contact: fgcusfa@gmail.com

Houston, TX Saturday, October 27
Contact: sandracisnerospeeters@gmail.com

Miami, FL Saturday, October 27
Contact: lopez.jasiel@gmail.com

Orange, FL
Contact: viano101@mail.chapman.edu

Providence, RI
Contact: tali@sfalliance.org

Head over to the National Week of Action's landing page for more details on how to plug in – and don't forget to refer to our online action toolkit as a resource, which has helpful templates, workshop guides, sample flyers, and outreach tips. If you don't see your action listed, reach out to us at organize@allianceforfairfood.org or call us at 239-692-1482.

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Meanwhile at the University of Michigan...

Students and community members crashed Wendy's college tailgating tour during the Michigan vs. Wisconsin match! The action was successful in educating hundreds of football fans about the gross human rights track record of the NCAA's latest fast-food sponsor — and even landing a Boycott Wendy's cameo on live TV during ESPN's Game Day coverage. Students were on a roll recruiting new members to support the local effort to prevent Wendy's from returning to campus until it joins the Fair Food Program, including none other than UMich's very own Biff, the Wolverine!

Stay tuned for more developments on the boycott front as the preparations for the national Week of Action continue...

ACTION REPORT: Over 60 farmworkers and Fair Food allies celebrate Labor Day Weekend with boisterous march on Publix and Wendy's in Miami!

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While many associate Labor Day Weekend with cookouts and late summer parties, the national holiday, dating back to the late 1800s, honors workers’ bounty of contributions in the movement for safe working conditions, dignity in the workplace and living wages. And in the spirit of commemorating the roots of Labor Day Weekend, over 60 farmworkers and Fair Food allies hit the streets of Miami on the first Sunday of this month for a lively march demanding an end to the violence in Publix’s and Wendy’s supply chains. Bright and early, CIW farmworkers and their families loaded protest art, water and megaphones into three vans and headed east across Alligator Alley for the next leg of the Florida Summer of Action!

The high-spirited action off of Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami was led by the CIW, and bolstered by the presence of a diverse group of allies from across South Florida, including students from Florida International University and members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and First United Methodist Church of Miami. After an hour of picketing in the blazing Miami heat, Fair Food delegations made up of farmworkers and local allies attempted to deliver letters to local Publix and Wendy’s managers.

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Every member of the delegation — young and old, farmworker and ally — voiced their commitment to continue pressuring Wendy’s and Publix to do what’s right and just. First up, Jasiel Lopez from Students Working for Equal Rights at Florida International University addressed the crowd:


“As a student organizer on campus, I will continue talking about the Fair Food Program... I will continue to tell my peers that Publix and Wendy’s have refused to sign the Fair Food Program. I will continue to take that message wherever I go. I will not stop talking about it, and I will stand in solidarity with the farmworkers in Immokalee and across this country fighting for dignity, respect, and fair treatment in the fields.”

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri Co-Moderator of the PC(USA) General Assembly hails from the Tropical Florida presbytery, a presbytery that has long supported the CIW attended the action and shared these words:

“The Presbyterian Church has been a longtime ally to the Coalition, from the times of Taco Bell, just like the Presbytery of Tropical Florida. We are here in solidarity walking alongside of you, boycotting, because we know it’s the right and just thing to do. Count on the Presbyterian Church because we are here for you... We made a call for Publix and Wendy’s to reconsider and look at what justice really is and what is necessary for the wellness of our farmworker men and women.”


 

Julia de la Cruz of the CIW drove it home with a powerful message in the spirit of Labor Day:

“They did not want to meet with us, but that does not mean that we will stop coming or that we will stop moving forward...The sweat from the farmworkers that are out in the fields should not be in vain but in justice.”

Meanwhile across the state in Gainesville, FL, longtime CIW supporters with Gainesville’s Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice, joined by students at the University of Florida and community members, led an animated picket outside of their local Wendy’s.

The Fair Food Nation observes Labor Day Weekend by challenging the corporate status quo of doing “business as usual” at the expense of workers’ dignity and well-being, and Wendy’s and Publix are not the exception!  

All in all, the Florida Summer of Action has set the stage for the upcoming season chock-full of actions. Our solidarity with CIW in the Campaign for Fair Food is an important reminder to corporations that the hard-fought  advances in human rights that farmworkers and consumers have achieved through the Fair Food Program are here to stay — and any major food retailer that turns a blind eye to the responsibility of eliminating sexual violence and forced labor in their supply chain will ultimately find themselves on the wrong side of history.

PHOTO REPORT: Over 70 farmworkers and Fair Food supporters crank up the heat on Publix and Wendy’s for a spirited march in Orlando!

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The threat of summer showers failed to discourage Immokalee farmworkers and their families to team up with committed allies of the Greater Orlando community for a high-energy march, cranking up the heat on the Wendy’s and Publix campaign in Central Florida. On Sunday, a crowd of over 75 gathered in South Semoran to deliver an undeniable message to Publix and Wendy’s: human rights protections for farmworkers are possible thanks to the Fair Food Program, and consumers of the 21st century will settle for nothing less!

As the Florida Summer of Action surges on, picking up steam from sister protests throughout the state, the Orlando community surely left its mark on the campaign trail.

Before kick-off, the spirited crowd gathered outside of Wendy’s for a colorful picket as the busy stream of Sunday afternoon traffic heading down S. Semoran looked on. CIW led the way, chanting the truths of the Fair Food Nation: “One! We are the people. Two! A little bit louder. Three! We want justice for farmworkers...”

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 The Rev. Kathy Schmitz addresses a crowd of over 70 Fair Food supporters in a spirited march in Orlando, FL on August 12, 2018. 

The Rev. Kathy Schmitz addresses a crowd of over 70 Fair Food supporters in a spirited march in Orlando, FL on August 12, 2018. 

Wearing their signature, bright yellow T-shirts, members of First Unitarian Church of Orlando, including the Rev. Kathy Schmitz, took up the Fair Food banner alongside CIW. The Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) Network of the National Farmworker Ministry and the Orlando Democratic Socialists of America made a presence, too. The beautiful multi-generational action, consisting of grandparents and young children, students and religious leaders, made it clear to Publix and Wendy’s that conscious consumers won’t budge until they sign a Fair Food Agreement to guarantee farmworkers’ fundamental human rights!

Soon after, the protest took off to Publix! The Florida-based grocery giant has ignored the urgent call, by tens of thousands of farmworkers and consumers in their home state, to join the Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program for nearly a decade now.

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As the action wrapped up, the Fair Food delegation shared about their exchange with the  representatives deployed by Publix to save corporate face at the public demonstration, who repeated Publix’s same tired excuses for rejecting the Fair Food Program.  

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Tareek Leonard from YAYA and Florida Student Power Network responded, “Farmworkers have been some of the most vocal leaders in calling on corporations to take responsibility for the exploitation in their supply chains. And we know that one day, because of our work together, Publix will join the Fair Food Program!”

CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo closed it out with a powerful analysis on Publix’s staunch refusal to join the only proven solution to eliminate and prevent wage theft, gender-based violence and modern-day slavery in the fields:

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“This is the kind of company Publix truly is. They never want to look at farmworkers in the eye, even after all these years. We are not tired of fighting for justice, that is not who we are. But what we are tired of is abuse - abuse in the supply chain of Publix.”

The spokespeople for Publix and Wendy’s social responsibility issues have made a profession out of denying both the reality of farmworkers’ exploitation and corporations’ undeniable obligation to consumers for ensuring freedom from abuse and discrimination in their supply chains.

As the Greater Orlando community made loud and clear this weekend, the Alliance for Fair Food will continue taking public action until Publix and Wendy’s live up to their shared value of “Doing the right thing.”

Stay tuned as the Florida Summer of Action continues its trek through the Sunshine State. Next up: Miami!

SUPPORT NEEDED: Donate to sponsor a student at the 2018 Encuentro!

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Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA), the student branch of the Alliance for Fair Food, launched an online fundraising campaign to make the2018 SFA Encuentro, an annual gathering of the students of the Fair Food Nation, the most powerful and accessible to date. Will you make a donation to sponsor the participation of one of over 80 young leaders in the Fair Food movement?

The Fair Food movement’s power comes from its breadth. Our vibrant, multi-generational, multi-cultural network unites the strength of students, faith communities, human rights organizations, labor groups, grassroots groups, and food justice organizations to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with CIW. We’ve been able to decisively change the purchasing practices of 14 multi-billion-dollar corporations to guarantee farmworkers’ human rights, by marshalling our respective constituencies and resources.

The SFA Steering Committee and staff have been working around the clock to design an unforgettable weekend for the 2018 SFA Encuentro: Hasta la Raíz (Down to the Root),with a focus on:

  • Celebrating and learning from the CIW’s incredible 25-year history of fighting for dignity and respect in the fields;
  • Crafting back-to-school escalation plans in the Wendy’s Boycott and the Boot the Braids campaign;
  • Sustaining the future of SFA's organizing through skill-building workshops and tools for leadership development; 
  • Taking action together to inspire us to make change in our home communities, and;
  • Building strength and solidarity across national grassroots movements.

Donate to ensure the attendance of young leaders making their way to Immokalee for the SFA Encuentro!

 

Our goal is to raise $3,500 to offset the significant costs of putting together one of SFA’s biggest events of the year. A donation of $150 covers the cost of one student. Your donation will go a long way in supporting folks traveling hundreds of miles to join us in Immokalee. As always, we’re counting on the support of our Alliance for Fair Food community to help us make it all happen!

We never want to turn away students for reasons of cost. These are the remarkable young organizers that have tirelessly fought to bring the SFA network to this critical moment in the Wendy’s Boycott — including those working to cut contracts with on-campus Wendy’s restaurants and those who courageously fasted alongside farmworkers during the momentous Freedom Fast this past spring. Every contribution will bring us closer to making this Encuentro a reality.

ACTION REPORT: March for Our Lives Tampa Bay teams up with Fair Food movement in St. Pete for Publix and Wendy's protest!

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This past weekend, in the full heat of CIW's Florida Summer of Action, 150+ farmworkers and allies gathered at Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, to call on Publix and Wendy's to join the Fair Food Program. True to form, Tampa Bay – which has long been home to some of the Fair Food movement’s liveliest Florida actions – did not disappoint!

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CIW’s Leo Perez: “We are marching today because we are against violence in all forms….”

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Pastor Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church, where the 1-mile march began, gave a blessing to ground us, “Let us pray. Oh God of many names . . . We call on Publix and Wendy’s to do the right thing and come to the table. God, give us strength and courage to be in solidarity with each other that we might together find our liberation. Amen.”

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Farmworkers and their families were joined by students from March For Our Lives Tampa Bay, connecting the workers' movement to end violence in the fields with the students' organizing to end gun violence in society. Students with March for Our Lives are continuing to demand that Publix honors its commitment to withhold political contributions to candidates back by the National Rifle Association. In the words of March for Our Lives Tampa Bay’s co-presidents Alyssa Ackbar and Macy McClintock: “After actions taken by the national March for Our Lives organization, Publix promised to stop endorsing NRA-backed politician Adam Putnam. Today, we march in solidarity with you . . . We are so proud to be here today marching with all of you and to be fighting against the injustice of violence that companies like Publix and Wendy’s continue to ignore every day. Human rights can’t be ignored.”

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Together, both groups called on Publix to take responsibility for the impact of its decisions as a company on the Florida community, such as Publix’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program and its decision to waver on its public promise to stop funding NRA-backed political candidates.

And the vibrant Tampa Bay community showed up to support both important movements: Tampa Bay Fair Food supported the Alliance for Fair Food and March for Our Lives  to organize the protest. Hillsborough Community Protection Coalition came to support, signs held high. People of faith from around the area came out en masse , including Unitarian Universalists from Clearwater,  St. Petersburg and Lakeland (Publix’s hometown!); United Methodists; Quakers,from even as far as Sarasota; Presbyterians; and members of the United Church of Christ. Nearing the end of their summer vacation, students from local high schools as well as the University of Tampa and New College brought their final blast of summer energy to the sunny march, joining local community groups and members of unions, such as from the West Central Florida Labor Council.

Following the lively pickets in front of not one, but two Publix stores, the Fair Food crowd  carried its infectious energy down to the Wendy’s on 4th St. for a closing picket and rally.

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One New College student, Charlie, accompanied the CIW in delivering the letter to Wendy’s Manager. “All we were saying is, ‘People are being sexually harassed.’ And [the Wendy’s manager’s] response was, ‘I’m not interested.’ And he has more power than we do to get messages to corporate.”

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Graham Shelor from Blake High School in downtown Tampa: “I too got the chance to go inside this Wendy’s over here, asking the Manager to accept the letter that was offered. He turned it down many times, as we continued to talk about the struggle that farmworkers face.” Graham emphasized the importance of solidarity of workers and consumers along the supply chain.

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Driving home the importance of building connections between women and men in the fields with consumers, CIW’s Silvia Perez delivered a powerful message on the truth of farmworkers’ reality, standing in front of the crowd under the hot Florida sun: “We have done so much with the Wendy’s campaign. Over the past 5 years, we’ve picketed, we’ve marched, we fasted for 5 days. Wendy’s is still refusing to join the Fair Food Program. That’s why we’re here today for something very important to all of us. We know that right now it’s very, very hot, but it is this heat faced by women and men working in the agricultural industry. This is is the heat that a farmworker feels when working in the fields.” Silvia continued, “each day that passes, the boycott of Wendy’s grows. Each day that passes, allies, students, and people of faith unite to support farmworkers.”

Ever-supportive members of United Methodist Women and a local synagogue, Temple Beth-El, joined forces to whip up a delicious lunch for the hungry workers and allies back at the church.

We closed with a song written by the CIW Women’s Group, composed and sung by long-time Alliance for Fair Food member, Priscilla Velez, during lunch:

My dignity is not a product to sell with every harvest.

There is a moment when one says, “Enough!”

Together we can tear out the sexual violence and harassment in the fields

Today I can live with dignity, I can love my family and myself with a full heart

But we didn’t do this alone; first we woke up, we brought consciousness to our community

Among our neighbors and our sisters in different parts of the country

There we made a commitmentour time, our sweat, our energy

Together we are creating the world we want to seewe’re not waiting for someone else to create it for us

This is not a story written in any book.

There is not enough paper in the world to capture the whole story of a woman in struggle

For the love of her familythis is our love story

And we want you to take part

Join us; together we will make a better world, a better world.


 

Coming up: The Fair Food Nation takes on holdouts Wendy’s and Publix with a Florida “Summer of Action”!

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Energized by an eventful couple of months in the Wendy’s Boycott, farmworkers are announcing a series of Florida protests to turn up the heat on Wendy’s and longtime Fair Food holdout Publix Supermarkets in the dog days of summer!

After Wendy’s declared its decision to repatriate tomato purchases from Mexico in response to the tremendous pressure consumers and farmworkers have built over the course of the two-year boycott and the spring’s powerful five-day Freedom Fast, we have put fast-food holdout and Board Chair Nelson Peltz in the hot seat for failing to commit to farmworker human rights by joining the Fair Food Program. Wendy’s move to greenhouses does not shield workers from the abuse and poverty experienced in the fields, and infrequent third-party audits lacking worker participation and effective enforcement fail to truly protect workers. With these truths in hand, 200+ marched to Mr. Peltz’s Manhattan offices a couple weeks ago to demand, “Wendy’s, How Much Longer?,” while hundreds more from coast to coast called in, sent letters, and educated friends and family about Wendy’s shameful evasion of responsibility.

In August and September, Immokalee farmworkers, their families and their many steadfast allies throughout the Sunshine State will build on the Wendy’s Boycott momentum while casting a spotlight on Publix’s failure to respect workers’ rights. If you’re in Florida, we invite you, as consumers and allies, to join us for protests and marches at the following locations:

St. Petersburg, FL
Sunday, August 5 at 3 PM - 4 PM
Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd N in St. Petersburg, FL 33703
Facebook Event

Orlando, FL
Sunday, August 12 at 2 PM - 4 PM
4510 Semoran Blvd S. Orlando, FL 32822
Facebook Event

Miami, FL
Sunday, September 2 at 4 PM - 6 PM
3301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137
Facebook Event

Naples, FL
Saturday, September 22
Time and location TBA

For inspiration, check out the reportbacks from lively protests in Sarasota and Ft. Myers earlier this summer!

If you’re not in Florida or not able to take part in the series, sign up to participate in our “Farmworkers in the Pulpits/Bimah/Minbar” Labor Day weekend call to education and action (Sep. 1-2). If you’re a student or young person, consider applying for the 2018 Encuentro gathering in Immokalee (Sep. 20-23)!

Adelante!
The Immokalee Crew

TAKE ACTION: This Labor Day, extend the call for farmworker justice to your congregation!

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Labor Day is a time for us to celebrate the contributions of workers to our country and the continuing struggle for fairness and justice by and for them. For allies of faith in the Fair Food Nation, Labor Day weekend (Sep. 1-3) represents an opportunity to amplify the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' longstanding struggle for justice in the fields. 

This year, the CIW invites allies of faith to incorporate the campaign for Fair Food and the Wendy's Boycott into the weekend's religious services — through sermon, ritual, prayer or another avenue — and then take to the streets to show Wendy's that the longer they stall — and thereby deny — justice, the louder and more insistent our call will be. If you are in the Southeast, we also encourage you to also extend the call to Publix Supermarkets, another Fair Food holdout.

We've also compiled your resource guide to help you plan your participation in this national mobilization, where you will find: 

  • Service elements
  • Sermon points
  • Spiritual resources, including readings, reflections and prayers from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions
  • Ideas and tips on how to organize a public action
  • Action materials, including a printable Boycott Wendy's flyer, a chant sheet, a letter for Wendy's management

Fill out the form to let us know about your participation at organize@allianceforfairfood.org. Looking forward to sharing updates across the AFF Faith Network!

ANNOUNCING: On July 19, farmworkers return to NYC to demand, “How Much Longer, Wendy’s?”

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:

“Wendy’s, How Much Longer?” March in NYC

Thursday, July 19 at 5pm

Trian Partners (280 Park Ave, near E 49th St.)

Facebook Event

If you’re interested in supporting the mobilization or in organizing a caravan to NYC, get in touch at: organize@allianceforfairfood.org!

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.