CIW’s Silvia Perez: “We have fought for decades to protect the dignity of the women and men who harvest our food — and we are winning, through the Fair Food Program. Wendy’s cannot erase the hard-earned progress we’ve made…”
As the tomato harvest winds down in Immokalee and the academic semester draws to a close for student allies, the Fair Food Nation isn’t going on vacation. Far from it – farmworkers and allies have their eyes trained on victory in the Wendy’s Boycott. This summer, let’s turn up the heat on the fast-food holdout!
With the jam-packed schedule of big summer protests and national calls to action we have lined up so far, Wendy’s will be hard-pressed to ignore our clarion call for real, worker-driven social responsibility. Vacuous top-down corporate codes of conduct just won’t cut it any longer.
On the ground, things have already kicked off. Allies around the country are marshalling their networks to pen hundreds of letters to Wendy’s headquarters while mobilizing to show up in-person to the annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, OH on June 5. (Want to take part? Check out our call to action!)
Today, we bring you a report from the first sweaty, sunny summer protest of the season in Sarasota, Florida!
Last Sunday morning, dozens of farmworker men, women, and children hopped into vans to journey to the paradisiacal gulf coast community two short hours north of Immokalee that has, over the years, become a veritable Fair Food stronghold.
Signature flags and signs in tow, CIW members joined members of Sarasota Fair Food, who co-organized the protest with students from New College, at a highly-trafficked Wendy’s restaurant. Youth and students, also hailing from Riverview High School and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, didn’t miss a beat to show up strong despite the home stretch of finals and graduation.
The local faith community, too, joined the spirited picket, as “Tomato Rabbi” Michael Werbow of Temple Beth Sholom and his family raised their voices along with faith leaders and congregants from the Sarasota Quaker Meeting (whose stunning banner cannot be missed!), the United Methodist Women of the South West District, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota.
While clouds shielded protestors from the worst of the tropical sun, drivers and passers-by took flyers and honked in support, lifting the spirits of the protestors – if not the Wendy’s store manager, who surreptitiously kept vigil from behind a bush near the front of the restaurant for most of the hour-long demonstration.
The protest ended on a high note, with a firm chorus of “We’ll be back!” sounding out the end of the lunchtime rush! Indeed, we will be back for a circuit of Florida protests in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Naples/Ft. Myers in the months of June through September. Stay tuned for dates!
We’ll end with this clip from WWSB ABC 7 News, featuring strong student and farmworker testimonies for why Wendy’s should reverse course and, finally, join the Fair Food Program: