NYC City Council Member Mark Levine: “Immokalee is not just, in my opinion, one of the best examples of worker power in America, but globally… But you need allies in this fight. Especially when you’re going up against a corporate Goliath like Wendy’s and that’s why we’re here.“

With the big Follow the Money March less than two months away, things are heating up in New York City!  The NY City Council is gearing up for a vote on a resolution in support of the Fair Food Program, which was introduced by Council Members Mark Levine, Brad Lander, and Helen Rosenthal following last November’s powerful “What Are You Hiding, Wendy’s?” March through the heart of Manhattan.  Last month, the NY City Council Women’s Caucus fueled the effort to pass the resolution with a public letter to Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz calling on the hedge fund billionaire to “exercise leadership and encourage Wendy’s to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program (FFP).”

Meanwhile, Fair Food organizers have already headed to New York to start connecting with the ever-growing network of Fair Food supporters there  — and throughout the Northeast — ahead of the big action!  Just last week, The Workers Circle brought together leaders from New York’s labor and Jewish communities at a warm and animated event to kick off mobilization efforts for the Follow the Money March.  The event featured a panel that included not only the CIW, but also the NY City Council’s Mark Levine and Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Deputy Director of longtime CIW ally T’ruah.  Today, we bring you a dispatch directly from the Alliance for Fair Food from the panel!

For more than a century, The Workers Circle has drawn upon Jewish values to confront and resist workplace exploitation and to build a society centered on respect and dignity.  In line with their storied history, last week The Workers Circle convened leaders from Jewish and labor organizations from across the five boroughs for a powerful forum on Fair Food headlined by NYC Council Member Mark Levine, Oscar Otzoy of the CIW, Uriel Perez of the AFF, and Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster of T’ruah. 

Supporters of the Campaign for Fair Food since its inception, The Workers Circle hosted the event, and their Executive Director, Ann Toback offered opening remarks, reminding us of the power we have when we stand united.

Oscar then took the mic, recounting how, against all odds, farmworkers from Immokalee organized themselves, reached out to consumers and together confronted and convinced 14 of the world’s largest food retailers to sign legally-binding agreements that are the bedrock of the Fair Food Program.  He described the rights won and urgent need to expand these gains by bringing Wendy’s on board. 

After greeting Oscar in Spanish and joking to the rest of the room that the rest of the program would be in Yiddish (much to the delight of all), Council Member Levine expressed how much it means that the Jewish community has stepped up in this fight and stood with workers from Immokalee. Levine, who, this past November, introduced NYC Resolution 1156 urging Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program, then paused to underscore the significance of this undertaking.

“Immokalee is not just, in my opinion, one of the best examples of worker power in America, but globally.  What you’ve done proves the power of organizing and I hold it up as an example here in NYC constantly.  But you need allies in this fight. Especially when you’re going up against a corporate Goliath like Wendy’s and that’s why we’re here.  We’re here to apply consumer pressure, public pressure, political pressure. We know this company is vulnerable to that pressure.  And we are going to squeeze them hard until they do the right thing.”

After a lively exchange of ideas and commitment to mobilizing support for the NYC resolution and the “Follow the Money” 3-day march (March 10-12) in New York City, leaders left for the Bronx, for Queens, for Brooklyn and Manhattan, on fire for farmworker rights!  

And you can fan those flames!  Are you in NYC?  Contact your council member today and urge them to become a co-sponsor of Resolution 1156!





ANNOUNCED: Farmworkers to take on Wall Street power players behind Wendy’s with 3-day “Follow the Money” March in New York City from March 10-12!

January 14, 2020

Demanding transparency and verifiable human rights protections in Wendy’s produce supply chain, farmworkers will march across New York City to hold major Wendy’s investors accountable for hamburger giant’s failure to join leading social responsibility program in US agriculture!  Make your plans TODAY to join CIW for the grand finale on Thursday, March 12 outside of the fast-food chain’s largest institutional shareholder, Trian Partners. Get ready, Fair Food Nation: Farmworkers are taking the fight for Fair Food to Wendy’s most prominent Wall Street investors this spring! Building on years of massive, colorful marches in New York City calling on Wendy’s leaders to […]

TED Ideas lifts up Fair Food Program, Worker-driven Social Responsibility as transformative human rights model!

January 10, 2020

TED Ideas: “Many farmworkers in the US receive inadequate wages and experience harassment, violence and even sexual assault. But thanks to the Fair Food Program, which signs up big companies like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, conditions in the tomato fields in several states have been reformed. Here’s how it works — and how you can do your part…” Last February, CIW’s Gerardo Reyes and Greg Asbed sat together on the TEDMED stage and delivered a wide-ranging, 18-minute talk on a movement and a model “with the potential to spark a 21st century human rights revolution”: The Fair Food movement and […]

BREAKING: Women’s Caucus of NYC Council takes fight to end sexual harassment and assault straight to the top at Wendy’s, Trian!

December 13, 2019

NYC Council Women’s Caucus to Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz: “It is here, in New York City, where your office as Chairman of Trian Partners — one of Wendy’s largest shareholders — is located. And so it is here, in New York City, our city, where the power to bring Wendy’s into the Fair Food Program exists.” For many years, the Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council has played a critical leadership role in the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace, both within the City’s five boroughs and beyond its borders.  With the advent of the Time’s […]

New York City Council Members: “Wendy’s, New Yorkers expect better.”

November 25, 2019

New York City Council Members Mark Levine, Brad Lander, and Helen Rosenthal introduce resolution calling “on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program and support farmworkers’ human rights”! Live in New York? Email your City Council Member TODAY to urge them to support Resolution 1156! Last week, over 500 farmworkers, their families, and supporters from across New York City and the northeast marched through the heart of Manhattan to the hedge-fund offices of Trian Partners, Wendy’s largest shareholder.  As chants of “Boycott Wendy’s” thundered down Park Ave., Council Member Mark Levine rose to the mic to exclaim, “Bienvenidos!” and announce that members of the Big Apple’s […]

500+ march on Wendy’s in NYC: “The longer they hold out, the stronger we become!”

November 21, 2019

From university halls to City Hall, over 500 farmworkers and consumers come together in New York’s streets demanding to know “What are you hiding, Wendy’s?” with day-long protest, march! PLUS: Comic and actor Amy Schumer visits protesters to lend support to farmworkers and their families fighting for justice; and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders endorses Wendy’s Boycott! AND: New York City Council introduces resolution calling on Wendy’s to join award-winning Fair Food Program! In the early hours of Monday morning, over 70 farmworkers, their families, and allies gathered in front of the offices of Trian Partners, Wendy’s largest institutional shareholder, in […]

BREAKING: Park Slope Food Coop in NYC joins forces with CIW to support, expand award-winning Fair Food Program!

November 8, 2019

Park Slope Food Coop: “As our Mission Statement says, ‘We seek to avoid products that depend on the exploitation of others.’ Ethical production and sourcing are among our core values, and our membership has voted overwhelmingly to support the FFP – a first in the nation for a local retailer. The Fair Food Program embodies those values, ensuring that the food we buy each day to feed our families is harvested with dignity and respect for the women and men laboring in the fields.” What:  The launch of a new partnership for farmworker human rights by Park Slope Food Coop and the […]

BREAKING! Vermont farmworkers call on supermarket giant Hannaford to join groundbreaking Milk with Dignity Program!

October 8, 2019

Vermont dairy workers with Migrant Justice celebrate second anniversary of launch of Milk with Dignity Program with march calling on Hannaford to join and “aid in the program’s expansion”; Matt Maxwell, a farm owner enrolled in Milk with Dignity: “The Milk with Dignity program allows us to pay the people that do these very important jobs an acceptable wage.  Since joining Milk with Dignity our farm has maintained a 85% employee retention rate. Less turnover has led to higher morale and greater workplace continuity. The program has helped us make huge strides [as an] employer.” On October 3rd, 2017, farmworkers […]

MUST-SEE new video celebrates two years of Milk with Dignity!

October 1, 2019

New video celebrates two years of groundbreaking change for workers in Vermont dairy industry, as Migrant Justice looks ahead to its next big campaign… Two years ago, a landmark agreement between Migrant Justice, a human rights organization based in Vermont’s farmworker community, and Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic ice cream brand, was announced on the front page of the New York Times.  The announcement marked the official launch of the Milk with Dignity Program, the product of years of hard work by Migrant Justice, organizing with workers on farms spread out across the state of Vermont and with consumers throughout […]