ACTION ALERT: Students at Ohio State University call for support from Fair Food Nation!

This morning, we bring you a breaking announcement from the Student/Farmworker Alliance network:

Yesterday, the administration of The Ohio State University canceled a long-awaited meeting with students regarding whether or not the university would uphold its commitment to cut its contract with Wendy’s unless the fast-food giant satisfied students’ concerns over farm labor conditions in its supply chain and joined the Fair Food Program.  The OSU administration postponed the meeting, citing a need to wait to, once again, “hear from Wendy’s.”

Fed up with the university’s stalling and broken promises, OSU students responded to the cancelation of the meeting with a march on the administration building on campus to make their voices heard — and now they need your help!  Here’s the call to action, please share it far and wide:

ACTION ALERT! Call-in to The Ohio State University Admin., tell them: Students will fast on your doorstep if you don’t cut the contract with Wendy’s!

After two years of stalling, OSU admin postpones meeting with students!  Tell President Michael Drake to Boot the Braids by March 17 — or expect week-long student fast!  CALL NOW!  Number: (614) 292-2424.  

Students at The Ohio State University have been working for two years to end the university’s contract with Wendy’s, insisting that Wendy’s refusal to protect farmworkers’ rights by joining the Fair Food Program has no place on a college campus.  And despite a hard-won stipulation in the contract between Wendy’s and the university stating that Wendy’s must resolve the concerns of the OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance in order to continue leasing space from OSU, the administration extended Wendy’s lease by six months this past December — saying they needed more time to “hear from Wendy’s.”  

Yet OSU students have made it clear time and again that Wendy’s Code of Conduct for their suppliers is built on aspirational claims that include no real worker participation or market enforcement.  And in a meeting they were promised by administrators yesterday, students would have explained that the recent addition of third-party audits for some of their suppliers to Wendy’s code remains meaningless without the workers’ voice and real economic consequences for human rights violations of the Fair Food Program.

Students would have said that, had they gotten the chance.  Instead, after over two years of stalling — two years in which Wendy’s has denied farmworkers in its supply chain the protections against sexual harassment, poverty wages, and modern-day slavery that have made the FFP the widely-recognized gold standard in social responsibility — OSU administrators cancelled the meeting. 

OSU students have had enough of the administration’s callous disregard for farmworkers’ suffering. In a snap action today, over a dozen students from the Student/Farmworker Alliance and Real Food Challenge declared that starting on March 20, they will fast outside of the OSU administration building in the lead-up to the Return to Human Rights Tour’s arrival in Columbus, OH with a march ending on campus, unless OSU administrators cut the contract with Wendy’s by March 17: “We will be fasting in solidarity with farmworkers who have had to go hungry because of Wendy’s indifference to the poverty and abuse endemic to the agriculture industry outside of the Fair Food Program.  …Your refusal to follow through on your promises is what has pushed us to this point.  Now is the time — Boot the Braids!”

In the words of CIW’s Julia de la Cruz, who marched with us yesterday: “Wendy’s is trying to silence their consumers through their empty Code of Conduct!  But you all as students no longer have your eyes shut.  Your eyes are open to see the reality behind the produce Wendy’s serves!  You see the labor of farmworkers and the abuse Wendy’s is perpetuating!  For that reason you have taken this step of solidarity in fasting.  And together, we are shaping history.”

Justice delayed is justice denied!  Call OSU President Michael Drake TODAY at 614-292-2424 to demand that OSU cut the contract with Wendy’s by March 17 — or see students fasting on their doorstep, with thousands more arriving to march on campus in the Parade for Human Rights.  See below for a sample script.  

“President Drake, I’m calling because OSU has gone against its word by renewing a contract with the only major fast food chain to refuse to join the Fair Food Program.  Wendy’s Code of Conduct is empty of enforcement and worker participation.  End the contract with Wendy’s by March 17 — or OSU students will be putting their bodies on the line by fasting outside of your offices.  Justice delayed is justice denied!”