Colorful signs aloft and spirits high, dozens of farmworkers from Immokalee, their families, and their local supporters began the national #BoycottWendys Month of Action this past Sunday with a lively picket at a Naples Wendy’s, just minutes away from the heart of the Campaign for Fair Food. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is calling for people of conscience around the country to take action with the Wendy’s Boycott during this Month of Action to send a clear message to the chain — that until Wendy’s joins the Fair Food Program, we will refuse to purchase from Wendy’s and invite our communities to do the same.
This boycott action — soon to be followed by dozens more around the country as the Alliance for Fair Food network mobilizes — comes as news breaks that Wendy’s has not only shifted purchasing from Florida to Mexico, completely divesting from growers that are implementing human rights for farmworkers through the Fair Food Program — but it has also been revealed that Wendy’s now purchases from a grower who in 2013 was found to be holding hundreds of workers against their will in egregious conditions. As Silvia Perez of the CIW put it: “For this reason, we invite all consumers, all people who believe in justice, who support us, to join this month of action against Wendy’s.”
Farmworkers and local consumers were joined by the Naples Fox 4 Station, whose coverage highlights the Fair Food Program’s unique success in addressing decades-old farm labor abuses. It makes one wonder — with the Program’s success from the East Coast tomato industry to now Florida strawberries, heralded by academics, human rights organizations, faith bodies, the general press — and first and foremost, by workers’ themselves — how long will Wendy’s withstand the mounting demand that they respect farmworkers?
An animated picket outside of a Wendy’s franchise is but one option for action among many during the month of April. We invite you to head over to last week's post to read the full Call to Action, complete with ideas for public witness that range from writing an op/ed to running a boycott pledge drive, from hosting a vigil at a local Wendy’s to organizing a call-in to Nelson Peltz’s offices. Just make sure you document your action and send the photos and summary to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! And head over to the AFF site for a full action report back, complete with press coverage.