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100 youth leaders from national food movement march on Wendy’s in Albuquerque, NM!

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Rooted in Community (RIC) makes Wendy’s a stop on its annual Youth Summit march!

RIC

Gerardo Reyes of the CIW (left, in dark shirt) speaks to RIC members following last week’s march on Wendy’s.

Rooted in Community (RIC) is a national network of young food movement leaders that empowers youth across the country to take up leadership in the struggle to change unjust food systems.  A highlight of RIC’s work is the annual Youth Summit, an eagerly anticipated national gathering which took place in Albuquerque this year and was, as always, a high-energy weekend, filled with field trips to local indigenous reservations, workshops on different gardening methods, and conversations on food accessibility and food supply chains.

Also this year, the CIW and the Student/Farmworker Alliance were there to talk about the Fair Food movement and the Wendy’s campaign, and their participation was met with a lot of enthusiasm.  Moved by the unprecedented advances for farmworkers under the Fair Food Program and Wendy’s refusal to support those advances, the conference participants decided to add a Wendy’s action to the agenda.  During a march through Albuquerque planned by RIC youth, the youth leaders stopped for a protest and manager visit at a local Wendy’s, a spirited action that put Wendy’s on notice that, in the words of Catalina Avila, a student at Florida International University, “If they don’t sign [a Fair Food agreement], we won’t buy!”

You can check out their energy and commitment in the video below as the delegation that went to visit the manager at last week’s Wendy’s action provides a report for their fellow marchers on their experience:  

 

Wendy’s has made no secret of its efforts to target the youth demographic (from a recent Christian Science Monitor article, “Wendy’s moves to target millennials,” 5/14):

Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick says the chain is evolving its menu and marketing to ensure it appeals across generations.  “The transformation of the Wendy’s brand is essential to strengthen our relevance with the boomer generation and to establish credible relevance with the Millennial generation,” he told analysts during the quarterly earnings conference call.

But young people aren’t the unthinking consumers of social media and fast food that corporate executives dream about.  Rather, as the youth who traveled from all four corners of the country to meet in Albuquerque will attest, the newest generation of young adults cares as deeply about social justice as it does about social media, and would rather talk about their favorite food justice organizations than their favorite fast food places.

Wendy’s is going to have to do more than makeover its menu to really win over today’s young people, and the youth gathered at the RIC summit will surely be leading the way as the Fair Food movement conveys that message — loud and clear — to Wendy’s leadership in the months ahead!

“Food Chains” private screening in NYC brings out a VIP crowd…

Screening recruits powerful new allies in the fight for Fair Food! These past few weeks, while millions of Americans have been hitting the beaches or heading to the hills to escape the mid-summer heat, the intrepid film crew from the documentary “Food Chains” has been criss-crossing the country as part of the long promotional campaign ahead of the film’s big November release.   Their tour brought them to New York City this past Tuesday for an invitation-only showing of the film at the Bryant Park Hotel screening room in midtown Manhattan attended by a VIP crowd of Oscar-nominated filmmakers, representatives of leading philanthropical foundations, […]

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Fair Food Program featured on Catapult’s front page!

First, as a brief refresher:  Earlier this year, we got connected with Catapult, the World Wide Web’s premier crowdfunding site for women’s rights, curated by the likes of everyone from Beyónce Knowles to John Legend.  Big names aside — at its core, this tool draws on the power of many people coming together to affect change, much like the rest of the movement for Fair Food.  Earlier this summer, we launched the “Ensure dignity and respect for farmworkers” project, an effort to raise $25,000 in 5 months to support a new staff member at the Fair Food Standards Council, the essential third-party […]

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You can run, but you can’t hide from Fair Food! Part II…

Rabbinic delegation visits Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz at his Park Avenue office, demands answers on human rights and the Fair Food Program… Last week we brought you the story of a live TV interview that took a surprising turn when CNBC reporter Jane Wells decided to grill Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick on why the company continues to thumb its nose at human rights and refuse to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program. Today we bring you a report from a recent visit by a delegation of rabbis and rabbinical students to the Manhattan offices of Trian Partners, the “activist investment firm” run by Mr. […]

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“Why not put your name by all the others?…”

Social Responsibility Live!  CNBC reporter grills Wendy’s CEO on refusal to commit to the Fair Food Program during live interview after Twitter-verse demands answers… (jump ahead to the 2:58 mark to watch Question #4 on the Fair Food Program) There is no escape these days for Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick from one simple question: Why won’t Wendy’s sign an agreement with the CIW and join the Fair Food Program?   From shareholder meeting showdowns, to massive marches through the company’s hometown of Dublin, OH, to open letters from religious leaders across the country demanding real social responsibility from the hamburger giant, Wendy’s is coming under increasing […]

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Kroger slams door on human rights at shareholder meeting in Cincinnati!

CIW delegation turned away despite holding legitimate proxies; 100 stage impromptu march on Kroger headquarters to protest workers’ extraordinary exclusion from supermarket giant’s annual shareholder meeting…

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Cumberland Presbyterian women “Step Out” for Fair Food!

First-ever Fair Food protest in Chattanooga, TN, “a proud day to be part of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.”  Last week, Silvia Perez of the CIW delivered the keynote address at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Ministry Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The Women’s Ministry, as part of its “Step Out” initiative committed to putting faith into action, is focused on farmworker justice this year, and Silvia’s speech took up the theme, framing the Campaign for Fair Food itself as an act of faith — faith in the workers’ vision of justice that would someday become a reality through the committed partnership of farmworkers and allies of faith around the […]

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Publix: “May your practices reflect God’s care. The world is watching.”

United Methodist Women chastise Publix for rejecting Fair Food Program, celebrate deep and growing partnership with farmworkers… United Methodist Women just won’t take no for an answer when it comes to food justice and Florida’s supermarket giant, Publix! Last week we posted a story about this incredible video, a moving look at three generations of United Methodist Women who are putting their faith into action for Fair Food.   Today we have two more great updates from United Methodist to share with you.  First, United Methodist Women (UMW) released another great video last week, this one a broader look at their growing partnership with the […]

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“Shaping Generations”… United Methodist Women and the Fair Food Movement!

Worker-driven, consumer-powered social responsibility: Moving video by United Methodist Women puts spotlight on crucial role of consumers in Fair Food Movement… Earlier this week we brought you a reflection on the “secret” behind the success of the CIW’s Fair Food Program, the fact that the Fair Food Program is a workers’ rights program that is designed, monitored, and enforced by the workers whose rights it is intended to protect.  But, truth be told, that is only part of the story.   The CIW’s vision for a more humane tomato industry would have remained forever a distant dream if tens of thousands of consumers, […]

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Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR): A new idea for a new century

Worker-driven social responsibility puts workers first when addressing human rights in corporate supply chains…   If you are even a casual reader of this site you know this:  The Fair Food Program has effected unprecedented change in Florida’s fields since it was implemented across 90% of the state’s tomato industry in 2011.  It has eliminated or greatly reduced longstanding abuses from sexual harassment to modern-day slavery, added over $15 million in Fair Food Premiums to farm payrolls, and earned the praise of human rights experts from the White House to the United Nations.  It has been called “one of the great […]

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Help us ensure dignity and respect for farmworker women!

Catapult launches new crowdfunding project to support expansion of the Fair Food Program… Earlier this year, the Fair Food Program won the support of Catapult, a pioneering crowdfunding platform that works with groups around the globe to advance the rights of women and girls.  And today, we have the great pleasure of announcing the launch of the Catapult online campaign, “Ensure dignity and respect for farmworkers” — an effort to raise $25,000 in 150 days to help pay for a new auditor for the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the Fair Food Program’s indispensable third-party monitoring body.  Now you can help support the FFSC’s crucial, day-to-day […]

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Religious leaders around the country call on Wendy’s: “Lead Wendy’s to be a part of the common good…”

“We’ve witnessed the powerful partnerships between workers, growers and corporations, whose collaboration is transforming an industry once mired in slavery to one now founded on dignity and respect…” The campaign to shepherd Wendy’s into the growing Fair Food movement continued to gain momentum this week with a strong push by religious leaders from across a spectrum of faith traditions.  This escalating pressure from religious leaders in the growing campaign comes on the heels of a colorful protest and compelling presentation by the CIW and its allies at Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting last week in Dublin, Ohio.  Two weeks ago, a delegation of seven rabbis journeyed to Immokalee with T’ruah: the […]

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TalkPoverty.org, a project of Center for American Progress, runs great read on the Fair Food Program…

Moyers & Company also picks up article analyzing worker-led approach that drives success of CIW’s Fair Food Program… Over the past generation, Corporate Social Responsibility programs (a field known by the acronym “CSR”) – based on a mix of corporate-drafted vendor codes of conduct, voluntary compliance, and periodic auditing – have been embraced and promoted by large corporations looking to blunt increasing public scrutiny of inhumane labor conditions in their suppliers’ operations.  Yet today, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on CSR initiatives around the globe, non-compliance with basic labor and human rights standards is still rampant, and in […]

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Wendy’s Frosty! CIW, allies have tough questions for Wendy’s execs at annual shareholder meeting, get cold shoulder…

Drama in Dublin… CIW to CEO Emil Brolick:  “Why would you deny your shareholders the opportunity for Wendy’s to be part of the premier program for corporate social responsibility in the nation?“ Yesterday morning, the CIW and dozens of members of the amazing Ohio Fair Food joined Wendy’s shareholders, CEO Emil Brolick, and the company’s board of directors at Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, OH for a rare face-to-face encounter between the forces of Fair Food and the executives at the final fast-food hold out.  And between the colorful protest outside the meeting and the fireworks inside, where the CIW and […]

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Policy Link: “Tomato Workers in Florida Remake an Industry”…

“What I found in the coalition was a group of people who believed in the same things we did — good working relationships and having a sustainable business. That’s the basis for a partnership.” Jon Esformes, Pacific Tomato Growers Policy Link, the “national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works,” published a remarkable article yesterday — at once concise and wide-ranging — on the Fair Food Program as an example of a social change initiative that just works.    The article, entitled “America’s Tomorrow: Tomato Workers in Florida Remake an Industry,” offers up a straightforward analysis […]

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Mother’s Day in Immokalee, with a Fair Food twist!

“What are you waiting for, Publix?”  Mother’s Day brings farmworker families together to celebrate gains, demand long-overdue justice from Publix… Full of momentum and energy from the blockbuster month of April, the Fair Food movement is hitting the ground running this May and, as is so often the case, Immokalee’s mothers are leading the charge.   This past Sunday, the ever-growing CIW women’s group, kids and all, gathered to celebrate Mother’s Day in Immokalee.  In one room, the children composed (rather glitter-laden) cards to their mothers — thanking them for all the love, hard work, and sacrifice they put into raising their families every day. […]

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