The Fair Food Nation made history this Thursday with a declaration that resounded, loud and clear, through the streets of Manhattan: from now until the fast food giant commits to respecting farmworker rights, thousands of farmworkers and consumers commit to boycotting Wendy’s!
Gathered in the hundreds and hundreds, New York allies from across the city and across the state rallied alongside the Immokalee farmworkers chanting, over and over again: “Boycott Wendy’s!”
Among the hundreds of consumer allies present were students from the area’s many universities and schools –Manhattanville College, the CUNY system, Fordham, New York University, and Union Theological Seminary, to name a few. Dozens of high schoolers also joined from as far as Brooklyn – and Rhode Island! T’ruah rabbis and their congregations, who have for two years emailed, faxed, called, and marched to call directly on Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz to take responsibility for farmworkers in the company’s supply chain, showed up strong, as did allies from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalists and Catholics, and others from all manners of faith. Fellow workers showed up, too, in a beautiful show of solidarity between Florida farmworkers and those in the city fighting their own struggles for an end to poverty wages and exploitation. New York farmworkers, domestic workers, nail salon workers, retail workers, day laborers, fast food workers, and many more lent their powerful voices to the chorus for justice in the fields.
The cold didn’t stop the build-up of energy over the course of the evening since, after all, we were there “to remind Nelson Peltz that there is something more important than money: Dignity!” as proclaimed by the CIW’s very own Gerardo Reyes Chavez. For as long as Nelson Peltz and the rest of Wendy’s leadership fails to recognize the dignity of the workers that pick the produce from which they profit, and continues to offer empty, ineffective excuses instead of committing to a widely-acclaimed, proven solution to farmworker abuse in U.S. agriculture, consumers will follow the CIW’s lead by freezing their wallets. Boycott Wendy’s!