There are no two ways about it: For those of us working to build a more free, safe, and democratic world, the events of this past week have been a dizzying flurry of punches to the head and body politic.  The barrage of far-reaching Supreme Court decisions, on the one hand, and deeply disturbing revelations from the January 6th hearings, on the other, may have been foreseeable for months -- even years, now -- but to watch it all unfold over the past several days has been no less horrifying for the anticipation. 

The unvarnished attack on our rights, and on the very foundations of our democracy, led by a small but powerful minority seemed to quite suddenly come to a peak this past week in a flood of headlines that has laid bare the extent to which unabashedly anti-democratic forces have radicalized the political dialogue -- and process -- in our country.  Stripped away now is any pretense that, despite our differences, we all share a common love for our democracy, for the principles of equality and freedom on which it was founded and which have served as guiding lights in our 250 years of evolution toward an ever "more perfect union," and for our fellow countrymen and women.  Instead, we watch as the details of a vast criminal conspiracy to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election through violence and rank political schemes are revealed, those revelations serving as the backdrop to a steady stream of Supreme Court decisions that -- made by a court now, and for years to come, dominated by justices chosen by the very leaders of that conspiracy -- strip essential rights and protections that have made our country safer and more fair for generations. 

And perhaps most disconcerting of all is the growing sense that the worst is not yet behind us, not by a long-shot. The full scope of the anti-democratic agenda on the horizon has come into stark focus this week, and it is increasingly clear that we will face an even darker and more difficult road ahead if nothing is done to reset the balance.

As demoralizing as this historic assault on democracy and human rights of recent years can be, however, this much is also clear: If there is to be any hope of defending and expanding human rights in the years to come, now is the time to re-invest in our communities and precious human rights movements.  Reaffirming your support for effective, community-driven work like the Fair Food Program – whether it's joining farmworkers in the streets or organizing in your own community for human rights in the fields – will be critical as we forge ahead and work together to preserve and protect the dignity of all.

Our movements are our power.  It has never been more important than now to return to that base and build our power for the battles that lie ahead.

There is a great deal more to say, of course, as the ripple effects of this historic week unfold and the agenda of those who would dismantle our democracy continues to make itself manifest.  We will undoubtedly return to this topic in the days to come.  But for now, in the spirit of refusing to give in to paralysis or despair, we pledge to redouble our efforts to expand respect for human rights in Immokalee and across the country – today and in the months and years ahead. 

As we have said from the very start of our own fight to end generations of poverty, exploitation and abuse in the fields nearly thirty years ago:

Consciousness + Commitment = Change. 

So, let us now be clear-eyed and awake to the rising tide of injustice around us, and reaffirm our commitment to keeping our communities -- and our country -- safe, fair, and free from the coming flood.  If we stay that course, we will not only preserve the change we have fought for, and won, for all these years, we will continue to grow it and expand the vision of universal human rights that drives our movement, storm or no storm. 

Indeed, there are two ways for a fighter to react when caught by a punch: Get knocked out, or wake the hell up. Here in Immokalee, we will never be knocked out. 




Day 3: “The power of the Program is real. It’s not just something in a book”

June 24, 2022

You know that old saying, “the proof is in the pudding?”  Actually, the full saying is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Arcane, maybe, but it makes the same simple point that we have been making here in the Fair Food Program for a decade: When it comes to human rights, the proof is in the protections, and, most importantly, in the enforcement of those protections. In other words, a human rights program is only real if it’s actually delivering results, measurable changes that improve people’s lives.  If not, it’s just another flashy website, another gauzy video, another sleek […]

Day 2: “Do the moral thing”

June 23, 2022

When the headlines about a surge of forced labor in agriculture in the United States and Mexico dominated the news, we hoped that Wendy’s – the lone holdout fast-food giant that has still not joined the Fair Food Program – would come to its senses, stop hiding behind ineffective and long-discredited corporate social responsibility practices, and take real, proven measures to protect workers in its supply chain.  Perhaps now, amidst the flood of horrific headlines, the hamburger giant would finally make the moral (and logical) choice to join the Fair Food Program.  But when they didn’t, we took the fight […]

Day 1: A Survivor’s Hope for Farmworkers

June 22, 2022

Our 10-day Fair Food Sustainer campaign starts today! Just days before Thanksgiving last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a staggering 54-count indictment in Georgia – ”one of the country’s largest-ever human trafficking and visa fraud investigations,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The forced labor case swept up 24 crewleaders, farmers, and guest worker recruiters in just one day of arrests,  and alleged that nearly 72,000 workers had been victimized in a scheme that netted  $200M in illicit profits for the perpetrators. The abuses documented in the indictment were deeply disturbing: Kidnapping. Rape. Forced labor at gunpoint. Death from […]

If you can’t take the heat, take Wendy’s private?…

June 21, 2022

Plot twist in Wendy’s Boycott: Nelson Peltz and Trian Partners “may take the chain private”; Move would avoid growing shareholder scrutiny… As readers of this site know, the past several months have seen an unprecedented surge in shareholder — and consumer — scrutiny of Wendy’s stubborn refusal to follow its fast-food competitors’ lead and sign a Fair Food agreement to bring the Fair Food Program’s gold standard human rights protections to farmworkers in its supply chain.  The first half of 2022 has not been kind to Mr. Peltz and his hedge fund colleagues. A shareholder movement to remove Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson […]

Fair Food Program breaks new ground: Introducing the very first FFP-certified soup!

June 15, 2022

“We are honored to sell the first packaged products in America that contain only Fair Food tomatoes, ensuring that the farm workers who picked those tomatoes were protected against the inhumane treatment that is so common in agriculture.” – Sara Polon, CEO of Soupergirl (pictured above) “We are so proud to sell Soupergirl’s gazpachos at Whole Foods Market and hope more brands and retailers are encouraged to get behind the Fair Food Program mission…” – Erik Brown, Executive Leader of Produce at Whole Foods Market Today the Fair Food Program is celebrating another major milestone: the launch of the first […]

Harvard Law report on 2023 Farm Bill issues full-throated endorsement of the Fair Food Program and its “proven worker-driven enforcement mechanisms”!

June 9, 2022

Harvard-based policy consortium calls on Congress, US Department of Agriculture to help drive expansion of FFP and other WSR initiatives in agriculture: “By incentivizing the growth of WSR [Worker-driven Social Responsibility] initiatives and focusing attention at the “top” of the supply chain — specifically, by preferentially providing the many forms of financial support government provides to those farms that join WSR programs — Congress can advance the twin aims of ending working exploitation and supporting the diversity and vibrancy of the farming sector.” … And on US Department of Labor to collaborate with FFP in protecting farmworkers’ rights to maximize efficiency, […]

“The Trashy Vegan,” Asheville’s beloved, funky fast-food spot, becomes the first restaurant to join the Fair Food Sponsor Program!

June 2, 2022

A few months ago, we welcomed the first food truck to join the fast-growing Fair Food Sponsor Program: The Trashy Vegan, an Asheville, NC, -based food truck known for its 100% vegan takes on classic “trashy” junk food –  including faves like tot burgers, “chicken” sandwiches, and decadent loaded fries. By the end of last year we had signed all the paperwork, and over the past several months the FFP and Trashy Vegan communications teams were gearing up to officially announce our new partnership.  But before we even had the chance to share our news with the world, more great […]

ACTION ALERT: Call Trian Partners TODAY as the Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting is underway!

May 18, 2022

ALSO: Check out the full update from last week’s big action outside Trian Partners headquarters in midtown Manhattan! **************   ************* Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President: “You have changed the landscape of the corporate food system in America through your leadership… But we’ve got one big thing that we need to do together!” From Manhattan’s streets to the pages of the Financial Times — and pretty much everywhere in between — Wendy’s and Nelson Peltz have been hearing from farmworker leaders and their consumer allies, major investors and Wendy’s own shareholders about the urgent need for real human rights protections […]

Forced to play defense, Wendy’s makes last-minute plea to shareholders not to vote against Board Chair Nelson Peltz…

May 17, 2022

… But shareholders and corporate accountability advocates quickly fire back in new SEC filing! VOTE NO leaders IASJ and Majority Action cite Wendy’s “continued silence on potential connections between its supply chain and forced labor” as key element in closing argument. As reported on this website last week — and again just yesterday in leading business publication the Financial Times — the growing support in the financial world for the shareholder-led campaign to VOTE NO on Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson Peltz received a big boost last week: the recommendation by leading proxy advisor service Glass Lewis that shareholders vote AGAINST Peltz.  Glass Lewis’ […]

“Vote No” Shareholder Campaign Continues to Light Up Top Financial Press; Major Shareholder Vote This Week!

May 16, 2022

    Shareholder-led campaign to “VOTE NO ON PELTZ” touches down in major financial outlets Bloomberg, Financial Times ahead of Wednesday’s big shareholder vote As we head into the homestretch ahead of the major Wendy’s shareholder vote this week, the story of Wendy’s failure to listen to its shareholders about farmworkers’ human rights is becoming the talk of the financial world! In the Bloomberg clip above, Eli Kasargod-Staub, co-founder of the leading nonprofit shareholder advocacy organization Majority Action, breaks it down:  “Particularly around worker safety, we’re unfortunately seeing a level pushback from a couple of corporate boards that have really […]