BREAKING: Hundreds of thousands of Unitarians worldwide endorse the Wendy’s Boycott!

The Alliance for Fair Food in Orlando -- led by First Unitarian Church of Orlando -- takes a great big selfie during a Wendy's protest
The Alliance for Fair Food in Orlando — led by First Unitarian Church of Orlando, the University Unitarian Universalist Society, and Standing on the Side of Love (yellow-shirted participants on the top left) — takes a great big selfie during a Wendy’s protest

“It is an honor to accompany such a creative and resilient movement whose influence is global and soulful…”

This just in:  The Unitarian Universalist Association — representing several hundreds of thousands of Unitarians across the globe — has endorsed the Wendy’s boycott!  With yesterday’s formal announcement, the UUA becomes the third major religious body to endorse the boycott in the last month alone, following the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ.  The UUA was also joined by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a grassroots human rights organization originally founded to combat Nazi persecution, in its endorsement.  Here is an excerpt from the announcement:


The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) officially joined the Coalition of Immolakee Workers (CIW) and other organizations participating in the boycott of Wendy’s for failing to sign the Fair Food Program. Wendy’s is the last U.S. fast food chain refusing to sign this Program, which guarantees an extra penny-per-pound and dignified working conditions for Florida farmworkers.

UUSC joins the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ and other religious bodies in supporting this action. UUSC’s Associate Director for Justice-Building Pamela Sparr explains, “Consumer action is the best tool we have now to pressure management to do the right thing.”

“With this program, the women who pick tomatoes to support their families no longer have to leave their dignity in the tomato fields,” said farmworker leader Nely Rodriguez, “Women now have a voice and a way to stop the harassment and abuse that has happened for too long.”

This is, of course, not the UU community’s only effort to pressure major corporations to make a real and lasting commitment to protecting farmworkers’ rights in their supply chains.  Just this past year, thousands of UU members have put their faith into action, participating in call-ins, letter deliveries, and protests across the country to call on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program.  And just last month, Rev. Peter Morales, president of UUA, and Rev. William Schulz, president and CEO of UUSC, both were among the first to sign onto the letter from national faith leaders to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor.


Indeed, since the earliest days of the Campaign for Fair Food, UU houses of worship have hosted the CIW for presentations, generously providing warm meals and shelter during tours and actions; they have invited farmworkers and fellow consumer allies into their homes; and in every city where the Fair Food movement finds itself in the street, demanding long-overdue farm labor justice, UU allies show up in force at public witnesses.

But no one articulates — lives, breathes, and embodies — that commitment better than the CIW’s longtime friend and ally, Rev. Allison Farnum, who weighed in on yesterday’s major endorsement:


Locally and nationally, Unitarian Universalists have historically supported the work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, helping to lay the path — brick by brick — to the new day for farmworkers ushered forth by the Fair Food Program.  Since the earliest days of boycotting Taco Bell, members of my congregation and many from all over Florida and beyond, have been accompanying and bearing witness to the challenges and, always inevitably, the successes of the work of the Coalition and its Fair Food Program.

Personally, the work of the CIW has grown my faith.  It is an honor to accompany such a creative and resilient movement whose influence is global and soulful.

Of course, today’s exciting announcement is the beginning, not the end, of this newest chapter of the Unitarian Universalists’ alliance with the Fair Food movement.  Even as you read this today, the annual UU General Assembly is taking place in none other than Columbus, Ohio, home to a certain hamburger giant’s corporate headquarters.  In keeping with their proud tradition, participants in the General Assembly will take to the streets in front of Wendy’s and will deliver 10,000 UUSC petition signatures to Wendy’s HQ.

If you happen to be in or near Columbus yourself, make sure to join the action!

WHEN: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM 
WHERE: Wendy’s at 2004 N High St, Columbus

Stay tuned for more on the Wendy’s Boycott front later this week!