“We are counting on support from communities nationwide to bring Wendy’s to the table and to bring justice to our workplaces…”

Return to Human Rights Tour passes 1,000 mile mark, connects with worker leaders across low-wage industries from Nashville to Minneapolis…

What do whirlwind Tour visits to Nashville and Minneapolis have in common?  A warm welcome, fellow low-wage workers fighting hard to change the conditions in which they work, and a whole lot of Wendy’s Boycott spirit!  

Following the tour’s inspiring stop in Atlanta, CIW members and allies headed northward for the weekend, first passing through the longtime Fair Food hub of Nashville and finally landing in the cold northern land of Minnesota.  

Along the way, CIW members both drew inspiration from and offered their own insights to two sister organizations, Workers Dignity in Nashville and the Centro por Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) in Minneapolis, strengthening the ties that naturally bind together all communities who have chosen to rise above fear and seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to win justice and dignity in the workplace.  And there were two high-spirited actions in support of the Wendy’s Boycott to boot!  

With so many miles to cover, let’s get right to it…


On Saturday, after being welcomed the night before at the MacKendree United Methodist Church, the tour crew woke up refreshed to a sunny day in the Music City.  Following a visit to the brand-new center for Workers’ Dignity, including a sneak peek of Nashville workers’ own community radio station, Radio Dignidad 104.1, the tour crew headed out to Vanderbilt University for the afternoon Wendy’s protest!

Around midday, Vanderbilt students organizing the campus’s “Boot the Braids” Campaign began gathering on the lawn of the university’s Divinity School, joined by members of Nashville Fair Food, Workers’ Dignity and the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church to prepare for a march through the heart of campus…

Art in hand, the spirited protesters set off through the sunlit campus, accompanied not only by the tour’s traveling musical talent but also several local protest musicians!

The colorful procession, with its tall flags, musical chants, and infectious spirit, was drew the attention of hundreds of students on their way to class across campus…

… and finally arrived to the Wendy’s on the edge of Vanderbilt, just as students were wrapping up their lunch hour.

The picketers not only won curious stares from passing cars and customers, but also caught the attention of local press, who interviewed one of Vanderbilt’s student leaders, Ania Szczesniewski, about why students at a University like Vanderbilt might have a problem with Wendy’s.  You can find the coverage from Nashville News Channel 5 here!


Late on Sunday evening, CIW rolled into Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), who had been planning for weeks in anticipation of the CIW’s arrival in conjunction with many local student, faith and community-based organization.

Much like Nashville, the visit to Minneapolis highlighted the powerful connections and common struggles among low-wage workers of all industries, including farm labor, hotel cleaning services, hospitality, construction, fast food, and many others.  Above all, the reflections exchanged between CIW members and CTUL worker leaders were focused on two, critical themes:  first, the paramount importance of worker leadership in any struggle for change, and second, the necessity of solutions that are not only worker-driven, but rigorously enforced.

Building on a powerful morning of conversation, the tour crew and CTUL members struck out for Wendy’s, located alongside the bustling thoroughfare of Broadway Avenue in Northern Minneapolis. 

Debuting a new round of the Return to Human Rights artwork — which is just a taste of what will be at the Parade for Human Rights in Columbus this coming Sunday! — nearly 50 community members, workers, and students launched into an energized picket…

… featuring two members of LA-based folk band Las Cafeteras, who took a break from their national tour to bring their own special flavor of ánimo to the protest…

… and also the powerful voice of local fast food worker leader and former Wendy’s employee, Steven Suffridge, who pledged his support to the Wendy’s Boycott and spoke about fast food workers’ own struggle in the national Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage:

On that high note, with promises to return and continue to support CTUL’s ongoing campaigns to reign in abuse in low-wage industries across Minneapolis, the Return to Human Rights Tour hit the road again! 

Onward, to Madison, Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati and… at long last… Columbus!