Fast and furious update, Part II:

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Fair Food activists in the Rio Grande Valley were almost carried away on the winds of change sweeping across the country as they protested this past weekend outside a Quiznos restaurant (actually, it was the Valley’s famous winds that nearly blew them over, but the whole “fast and furious/winds of change” thing has more zest to it…).

* “Quiz-No!”: Quiznos not off the hook, even as Campaign readies for Do the Right Thing Tour…

* Mayor of Sarasota, FL, stands with the Campaign for Fair Food…

* NESRI, NYC-based Community/Farmworker Alliance collaborate on great new mobilization video for the Tour!

Updates are coming in triplicate these days as the run-up to the Do the Right Thing Tour enters its final forty-eight hours, and it’s all we can do to keep up with events as they unfold! So, without further ado, here’s the breaking news from the front in the Battle for Fair Food.

First — in what may actually be a first in the history of the Campaign for Fair Food — the Mayor of Sarasota, Florida, Kelly Kirschner, has taken a stand with farmworkers calling on Publix to help end “Florida’s long record of farm labor abuse.” Mayor Kirschner issued a statement this week on Publix and the Campaign, which we are happy to be able to share with you in its entirety here below:

“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a trusted partner of nine major food retailers including the leaders of our nation’s fast-food and food-service industries, is developing a smart approach to address Florida’s long record of farm labor abuse.

Knowing Publix’s longstanding commitment to community and to Florida, I feel confident they will lead the way for our state’s grocery chains in doing the right thing as a model corporate citizen, standing on solid ground that paying Florida’s farm workers a just wage is not only the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do. Learning the lessons from the fast-food and fair trade industries, Publix’s consumers will reward them by being pioneers in taking this stand, further growing their brand loyalty as a native Florida company who integrates their philosophy of caring throughout the entire organization.”

Second, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) and the Community/Farmworker Alliance, both based in New York City, have collaborated to put together a sharp new video inviting Fair Food activists everywhere to take part in the Do the Right Thing Tour. It’s on youtube now, so, here it is below, embedded for your viewing pleasure:

Finally, with so much attention focused on Publix, Stop & Stop, and the Do the Right Thing Tour, Quiznos — one of the few fast-food stragglers not yet working with the CIW to do its part to improve wages and working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields — could be excused if it thought it might be able to avoid the spotlight for a few weeks. But… Fair Food activists from Denver to New York, Texas and San Francisco got together in their communities this week to make sure Quiznos knew it hadn’t been forgotten!

Here’s a quick photo update of Quiznos actions from around the country — including a couple of actions with an interesting new twist — with more sure to come in the weeks ahead:


The Rio Grande Valley is home to one of the country’s most exciting — and most fun — Fair Food committees, Fair Food RGV. They gathered this past weekend at a local Quiznos and made a very strong impression on all who witnessed their spirited protest.

The action brought them into dialogue with the restaurant workers themselves, who felt compelled to call the franchise owner…


… who came to talk with the protesters, and went away with a new understanding of his customers’ call for Fair Food that respects human rights, not fast food that exploits human beings.

Fair Food RGV will be represented in Tampa for the March 4th and 5th actions, and will undoubtedly bring their infectious spirit with them!


Meanwhile, in Denver — where neither rain nor sleet nor driven snow can keep Denver Fair Food from its appointed rounds of holding both of Denver’s hometown fast food giants, Chipotle and Quiznos, accountable for their refusal to adopt Fair Food standards — protesters employed a Valentines Day theme to demand that Quiznos “quit breaking their hearts” with its long, drawn-out rendition of the “Slow No” in talks with the CIW.

Their determination to brave the cold caught the attention of the local media, who helped spread the word through Denver’s airwaves.


Finally, our update comes to a close with the interesting new twist we mentioned above.

In San Francisco, CA, and White Plains, NY, Fair Food activists came up with the novel idea of dropping in on Quiznos public meetings with potential new franchisees. In different cities across the country, Quiznos invites people interested in becoming franchisees to meet with company representatives at a local hotel, and then provides them with all the information they need to know if they want to own a Quiznos restaurant.


Well… not all the information. The part about the ongoing campaign against Quiznos doesn’t seem to be part of the official pitch, so these Fair Food activist did what they could, above in San Francisco, …


… and here in White Plains, to make sure that future franchisees were informed about the Campaign and about Quiznos’ failure to keep pace with the leaders of the fast-food industry when it comes to selling socially responsible tomatoes.

Information is a powerful thing…

Two more days to take-off in the Do the Right Thing Tour! See you Sunday in Boston…