REPORTBACK: Month of Outrage sparks action in cities across the country!

After a month of non-stop action, April’s ‘Month of Outrage’ is a wrap! In the past few weeks, thousands of consumers learned of the newly launched Wendy’s Boycott as several hundreds of allies took to the streets and Wendy’s locations across the country to make their voices heard as part of the CIW’s wide-sweeping call for farmworker justice.

From coast to coast and from north to south, consumers built on the momentum of 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. Fair Food Group strongholds then took up the baton – Tampa Bay Fair Food and DC Fair Food organized letter deliveries to local Wendy’s managers, and Ohio Fair Food allies in Columbus joined forces with groups across the city to do the same. 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 Wendy’s Boycott. Over on the other coast, community allies in Seattle heeded the call and engaged supporters in their cities to call on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program.

Students 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, like at the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University. At universities in Miami, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Columbus, too, students took it upon themselves to educate fellow students, gather boycott pledges, and take them to local Wendy’s management.

Major metropolises Chicago and Los Angeles also felt the heat with dozens-strong actions, engaging not just local allies but also national networks of workers and organizations leading their own struggles for justice, including Freedom Network USA and the Food Chain Workers Alliance. Immigrant and low-wage workers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and New York City also marched in solidarity with farmworkers at actions organized in conjunction with consumer allies in both places.

Closer to Immokalee, cities in Southwest Florida kept going strong as the month progressed. After a large picket outside a highly-trafficked Ft. Myers Wendy’s, farmworkers concluded the Month of Outrage with an energizing hundred-person protest in sunny Sarasota.
Check out this photo report of the lively mosaic of pickets, marches, letter deliveries, and creative action organized by the ever-spirited AFF network throughout the Month of Outrage!

And as if mobilizing their communities weren’t enough, allies also took up their pens to author an array of articles and op/eds indicting Wendy’s for its conscious and unacceptable decision to shift purchases away from Florida’s tomato industry – “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” – towards a Mexican tomato producer that in 2013 was the subject of a nightmarish slavery prosecution.

Faith leaders and students alike described how “Wendy’s has lost my respect as well as my patronage,” for its callous refusal to join the CIW in partnership for farmworkers' human rights. T’ruah’s tomato rabbis penned insightful pieces (here and here), reflecting on how Jewish struggles for freedom, commemorated during Passover, profoundly connect their community to farmworkers’ fight for dignity and justice in the fields.

We could say that the Month of Outrage ended with a bang – with five powerful actions amplifying the Wendy’s Boycott on the same weekend – but the pressure on Wendy’s to come to the table with farmworkers is climbing day by day without any signs of slowing down.

As consumer allies of the CIW, we’re committed to continuing to mobilize our communities and expand the scope of support for the Wendy’s Boycott ahead of the next big opportunity to open Wendy’s executives’ ears to our call for farmworker justice: the Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, OH on May 26.

Keep an eye out for more updates on how you can take part in building the drumbeat for May 26!