Well known investment giants BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo among top shareholders in Wendy’s universe… and key stops on the Follow the Money March!

Willie Sutton, the famous, oft-convicted bank robber of the early 20th century, was once asked why he continued to rob banks.

His reply? "Because that's where the money is."

While the motivation behind next month's major mobilization in New York is certainly not the same as Willie Sutton's, the rationale is. We are marching on Trian Partners, and on several other key banks and investment funds behind the fast-food company Wendy’s, precisely because that’s where the money is.  

And, when it comes to decision-making at the billion dollar hamburger giant, it seems — more than any other company in the fast-food firmament — that’s where the power is, too. 

So today, we wanted to introduce you to some of the key actors in Wendy’s world, the massive investment firms and Wall Street players whose money gives them the loudest voices in the room when the big decisions are made — like when it’s time to decide whether or not to join the universally-acclaimed gold standard for social responsibility in agriculture today, the Fair Food Program.  We begin with Trian, the loudest of all the voices, but we don’t stop there, as we “Follow the Money” wherever it leads.

Trian Partners

Only Nelson Peltz and his partners at Trian truly know the full extent of the hedge fund billionaire’s influence over the hamburger giant, the final fast-food holdout from the Fair Food Program.  But one thing is clear: The outsized role of the “activist investor” Peltz and his partners within the decision-making structures at Wendy’s sets the company apart from its competitors in the fast-food industry.  In the words of Derek Seidman of the online journal Truthout:

Trian is the top owner of Wendy’s and dominates Wendy’s board of directors. Peltz is Wendy’s chairman, Trian President and Founding Partner Peter May is vice chairman, and Peltz’s son Matthew is a director. Others on the board also have close tiesto Trian.

And when a shareholder as dominant as Trian insinuates itself into the corporate structure as deeply, and widely, as Trian has in Wendy’s, the decision-making process is necessarily altered, and not always for the best.  Indeed, despite nearly twenty years of the Campaign for Fair Food, ten years of the Fair Food Program, and four years of a growing consumer boycott, Wendy’s stands alone among fast-food industry leaders in refusing to join the award-winning social responsibility program.  It is only reasonable to conclude that the exceptional power of Trian Partners within Wendy’s is the reason.

Immokalee farmworkers, Fair Food allies outside the office of Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz in New York City

This analysis has led us to Trian’s doorstep many a time over the past several years, most notably when 100 farmworkers and their consumer allies held a five-day fast on the sidewalk outside Trian’s Park Avenue offices.  Thus far, the voices of Immokalee farmworkers and hundreds of thousands of consumers across the country calling on Trian have not been enough, however, to move Wendy’s to do the right thing.

But Trian is not alone among key Wendy’s shareholders.  And Trian itself has other institutional investors that, as the hedge fund’s clients, are essential to its own profits, and power.  And so we follow the money to…





Faith leaders across New York City declare support for NYC Council resolution calling on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program!…

February 19, 2020

Momentum is growing in NYC ahead of next month’s big march, as thirty New York City clergy, seminary presidents, professors and religious leaders release public letter of support for NYC Council Resolution 1156…  Big news out of the Big Apple! As the buzz around the CIW’s upcoming Follow the Money March begins to reverberate throughout the bustling boroughs of New York City, support for NYC Council Resolution 1156 — introduced last November just days before 500+ New Yorkers marched on Wendy’s in Midtown Manhattan — is getting stronger by the day!   Today, 30 NYC-based religious leaders, from Brooklyn to the Bronx, […]

REGISTER NOW: The big Follow the Money March is just one month away!

February 12, 2020

An organizing report, a brand-new website, and a list of caravans from around the country… Here’s all you need to join the CIW’s major spring action in New York City, March 10-12! In less than one month, farmworkers and their families from Immokalee will head north to New York City — the finance capital of the world — for the next major mobilization in the Wendy’s Boycott.   This time around, the action is leading farmworkers and their consumer allies directly to the doorstep of the Wall Street investment firms and funds behind Wendy’s fast-food burger business.  From March 10-12, thousands of […]

Responsible investors: “Wendy’s must join the (Fair Food) program as soon as possible”…

February 10, 2020

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Investors Alliance on Human Rights pen powerful letter to Wendy’s CEO, Board Chair following visit to Immokalee to meet with CIW, study Fair Food Program… “We recognize that Wendy’s has its own Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Supplier Code of Conduct, and related programs in place. However, this is not enough… In the absence of a meaningful worker-driven model, it is impossible for Wendy’s to know that its policies are working to achieve the company’s stated goals and maintain compliance with legal and human rights expectations.” In early January, socially responsible investors and advisors traveled […]

Must-see new video on Worker-driven Social Responsibility gives hope for real human rights protections in dark times…

February 6, 2020

 Video: Worker-driven Social Responsibility – Beyond the Headlines… “Real progress is seldom easy. But Worker-driven Social Responsibility offers a blueprint, at last, to ensure dignified conditions for the half a billion people working in factories, farms, and other workplaces across the world who touch our lives every single day.” From the Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network, who produced the remarkable new video (above): All human beings deserve work with dignity, respect for their human rights, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. However, 500 million workers in global supply chains who make and harvest the products we […]

Dispatches from the student front in the fight for Fair Food ahead of huge Follow the Money March!

January 23, 2020

Student/Farmworker Alliance leaders convene in Immokalee for a face-to-face planning weekend on the Wendy’s Boycott! Student/Farmworker Alliance leaders from across the country come together to turn up the pressure on Wendy’s! Anyone who knows anything about the two-decade old Campaign for Fair Food knows the all-important leadership role students have played in winning the legally-binding agreements — with now fourteen of the world’s leading food brands — that put the teeth behind the groundbreaking Fair Food Program’s human rights standards.  Without those agreements, there would be no market consequences for human rights violations on Fair Food Program farms; without those […]

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 […]

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 […]

NY Times Op/Ed: “The strongest model for farmworkers today is in Florida…”

July 17, 2019

Author Miriam Pawel: “The strongest model for farmworkers today is in Florida, where the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has achieved major gains – not through state law but through years of patient, creative organizing that produced a framework to improve wages and working conditions, with effective enforcement.” Monday’s New York Times carried a provocative Op/Ed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian Miriam Pawel on a recent, and significant, legislative victory for farmworkers in New York State.  But while Pawel’s take on the new law is indeed intriguing – and merits serious consideration by farmworkers, farmworker advocates, and consumers fighting for a […]