Massive numbers, multiple actions rock Wendy’s!

[hupso_hide][hupso title=”100s upon 100s! Massive protests greet @Wendys during #FoundersWeekofAction across the #FairFoodNation!” url=”http://ciw-online.org/?p=17217″]

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Over 200 protesters marched on Wendy’s in Columbus, OH, to demand that the hamburger giant join the rest of the fast-food leaders in advancing the human rights of farmworkers in its supply chain.

200 in Ohio, 130 in DC, 120 in Miami, 80 high schoolers in Jacksonville, plus protests in Austin, Oakland, Chapel Hill, New York, Princeton, Haverford, Providence, St. Louis …  just to name a few! 

Things just got a whole lot more real for Wendy’s. The 2013-2014 Fair Food season began in earnest this past week, and the focus of all the action was the Ohio-based hamburger giant and its refusal to support fundamental human rights in its tomato supply chain.

Wendy’s Founder’s Week of Action was a rousing success, with huge actions in multiple cities and smaller protests in many more.  Fittingly, Ohio led the way with a massive march of more than 200 Fair Food activists from one restaurant to another in the city of Columbus.  Photos from the protest reflect the intensity and passion of the participants, in particular the incredible array of original art produced in the lead up to Saturday’s big protest.  The march was so epic — including not just all the beautiful signs and banners, but creative new chants to boot —  that it merits an epic report.  So here you go, your first-hand dispatch from the Fair Food front in Columbus, OH:

Columbus, Ohio

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A 200+ strong march rallied at the Wendy’s near the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio to let Wendy’s know that the company’s home state cares about Fair Food and they won’t stop until Wendy’s joins the Fair Food Program!  An unprecedented gathering of students, faith allies, local organizations and community members rallied and marched 1.5 miles through the streets of Columbus, on a beautiful fall day. 

The residents of Ohio brought creativity, energy and passion to the day. The local cheerleading activist squad, the “Crushers” opened the march up by leading the crowd in some chants adding some spunk and humor and quickly became a highlight for many (chants below).  A movements class that combines dance and activism from Denison University, after hearing a presentation from a CIW member, showed their support by creating a short dance to highlight Wendy’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program. As is evident in the outpouring of creativity for this action, there is a lot of Ohioan disappointment with the square-pattied burger giant, which remains the lone holdout among the top five fast-food corporations.  

For many students, Saturday’s protest was their first protest, but as is the case with so many people who experience the joy of collective action for justice, many declared that it would not be their last. 

Emilio Faustino Galindo of the CIW said, “There is always a beginning and an end to everything.  This is not the end, this is just the beginning, and we won’t stop until Wendy’s signs a Fair Food agreement!”

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In the words of Jessica Shimberg, Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life at Ohio Wesleyan University: “May today’s turnout and energy lighten the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Immokalee, and may Wendy’s take to heart the values of its founder, Dave Thomas.”

Chants from the “Crushers” (the cheerleading group):

Back Up Back Up
Back up back up!
We want burgers, burgers,
But only with fair pay
For the workers, workers! 

Tomato Fans
Hey all you tomato fans,
Let me hear you clap your hands!
If you think that fair pay’s sweet,
Let me see you stomp your feet!
Hey all you tomato fans,
Let me hear you clap your hands!
If you think that Wendy’s rude,
Show that broad some attitude!

But Ohio was far from alone this past week, as several other cities organized massive protests as well. Whoever thinks nothing ever gets done in Washington, DC, has never seen the work of DC Fair Food! They brought over 130 into the streets to demand change we can all believe in from Wendy’s. Here is a brief, spirited report, in their words: 

Washington, DC 

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Yesterday, DC Fair Food gathered 130+ students, allies, concerned consumers from DC, and East Coast supporters to march for the demand on Wendy’s to sign the CIW’s Fair Food Program.

We gathered in front of the White House to rally and practice our chants/gritos before marching out to a Wendy’s, and set off from the White House along a lane on New York Ave.

We arrived in full force with an amazing group of marching people singing and shaking it all the way. At Wendy’s, we picketed in front of the store for about 25 minutes before sending in a delegation of 4 students to deliver the manager letter.

Overall, the action was a tremendous success and was by far DC Fair Food’s largest action ever!! Not only did we complete our mission, but everyone had a great time by coordinating with each other. 

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Meanwhile, back home in the Sunshine State, Fair Food activists were busy getting their message out from Jacksonville to Miami.   In Jacksonville, over 80 high school students took to the streets:

Jacksonville, FL 

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One of the students had this to say about her experience:

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Today I came out not knowing what to expect. Who would be there? How would people react? What would I do? But as soon as we started I knew participating was the best decision I’ve ever made. I truly felt empowered as we marched and people recognized us. And I felt so involved in this cause. I didn’t even drink water until the end as a way to remember Edgar, the bloody worker who came to the CIW headquarters after a boss beat him for wanting a drink in the field. Thank you, to you, mrs. R, Mr. S, Mr R, Mrs L, and every other adult that came out with the students today. This is an experience I will never forget. 

And in Miami, more than 100 workers from Immokalee and South Florida allies combined forces for a march on Wendy’s with a protest outside a Publix. Two birds with one protest, so to speak. Click on the picture below to head over to the great video from the NBC affiliate in Miami

Miami, FL

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There was much more action this weekend to cover, and we will have more for you — including a complete media round-up — this week as the photos and firsthand reports make their way in.  So check back soon for more from the huge Wendy’s Founder’s Week of Action!