CALL TO ACTION: National Wendy’s Call-in Day this Wednesday, 5/25, as farmworkers, allies prepare to protest at Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting!

Consumers marching on Wendy's 2015 shareholder meeting
Consumers marching on Wendy’s 2015 shareholder meeting

THIS WEEK: Call (614)-764-3327 and give Wendy’s a piece of your mind on Wednesday ahead of major action outside of Thursday shareholder meeting!

Three years ago in New York, a Wendy’s shareholder, Mr. Bradford L. Grazier — who had received his first shares of the major hamburger chain over fifty years before — stood up in the annual shareholder meeting to address then-CEO Emil Brolick, saying:

“Honestly, the potential bad publicity between the folks here and outside on the street does not do our company much good. I’m wondering what the downside is of signing the darn agreement and doing something that I think would make a lot of sense.”

The “darn agreement… that… would make a lot of sense” was, of course, a Fair Food Agreement, and the folks on the outside were workers from Immokalee and consumers who support their vision of a more humane food industry.

Alas, Wendy’s leadership failed to take the common sense advice of their own shareholder in 2013, and so every year since, the annual shareholder meeting has been dominated by a colorful protest outside, and a heated discussion inside, about Wendy’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program — even when all of their major competitors have already done so.  Indeed, instead of doing its part to help protect farmworkers’ human rights here in Florida, Wendy’s has sought to flee social responsibility by pulling purchases from the Florida tomato industry altogether and shifting those purchases to the abuse-ridden produce industry of Mexico — a decision so unconscionable as to result in the launch of a national Wendy’s boycott just two short months ago.  The fact that the hamburger giant decided to tout its commitment to purchasing American beef in a major advertising initiative just weeks after the declaration of the boycott only threw more fuel on the growing fire.  

Now it is time for 2016’s annual shareholder meeting, and Wendy’s is facing an unprecedented level of consumer outrage, embodied by the thousands of individual consumers who have pledged to join the boycott, not to mention the millions more represented in last week’s major endorsements of the boycott by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.  To build on that momentum, we are calling on the Fair Food Nation to join us in turning up the heat on Wendy’s this week!

Here is the call to action, directly from the Alliance for Fair Food:

With support for the CIW’s boycott of Wendy’s growing by the day and Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting right around the corner on May 26, farmworkers of the CIW and allies are preparing to be present both inside and outside the meeting at Wendy’s Dublin, OH headquarters to take the message of the boycott directly to Wendy’s executives and shareholders.  

Even before consumers and farmworkers take action during the meeting itself, we are calling on all members of the Fair Food Nation to call in Wendy’s headquarters on May 25 to demand that incoming CEO Todd Penegor make a commitment to the Fair Food Program ahead of the meeting!

OSU students outside Wendy's shareholder meeting in 2015
OSU students outside Wendy’s shareholder meeting in 2015

Over the course of this year alone (not to mention the three-year public campaign against Wendy’s), countless farmworkers and consumers of conscience have shown up outside of hundreds of Wendy’s locations to picket, march, hold vigils, and deliver letters to managers.  We have called the offices of Wendy’s Board Chairman and major shareholder Nelson Peltz and marched outside of his very offices. During the CIW’s massive tour of the east coast this March, we committed by the thousands to join the national boycott of Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program.  Since March, organizations and individuals representing millions have pledged to join the boycott.  

And meanwhile, Wendy’s finds themselves more and more ensnared in their own inconsistencies:  If Wendy’s cares about conditions in their supply chain — as they claim in their recent “All-American” ads and Supplier Code of Conduct then why are they purchasing from a grower where hundreds of Mexican workers were enslaved as recently as 2013?  

On May 26, farmworkers and consumers will share our message with Wendy’s executives and shareholders face-to-face.  Together, we will meet Wendy’s unconscionable rejection of the Fair Food Program — eschewing real, verifiable human rights for farmworkers — with the strength of workers uniting with students, people of faith, community members, grassroots groups and many others, all boycotting Wendy’s until they respect farmworkers’ rights.

If you are in Ohio:  Will you join us outside Wendy’s headquarters on May 26?

Everyone, from coast to coast:  Will you commit to call-in on May 25?  Here is the call-in number:  (614)-764-3327

Email us at for information about carpools and housing on the night of May 25 if you’re traveling to the action. 

Head over to the AFF site for a sample script for May 25’s call-in to headquarters!

So mark your calendars for Wednesday’s national call-in — and if you’re anywhere in the midwest, join allies from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and other corners of the midwest at the major shareholder meeting action itself!  

And Mr. Penegor:  Mark your calendar as well, because the Fair Food Nation will be at your doorstep in just a few days time.  Between now and then, ask yourself what will your tenure as CEO of one of the world’s largest hamburger chains mean:  Will you continue with business as usual in your supply chain, pursuing the cheapest products while ignoring your responsibility for egregious human rights violations and grinding farmworker poverty — or will you take a place (alongside all of your competitors) as a leader in 21st century social responsibility by joining the Fair Food Program?