ORGANIZING REPORT: New York City, Northeast region buzzing with plans for major Wendy’s march next week!

Student organizers with United Students Against Sweatshops invite CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo to present on farmworkers’ human rights at the 2019 USAS Northeast Regional Summit, hosted by Columbia University’s Student Worker Solidarity.

Hundreds finalize plans to converge on Manhattan and march with farmworkers Monday, Nov. 18…

We’re less than one week out from the much-anticipated “What are you hiding, Wendy’s?” March on Nov. 18, and word of the CIW’s return to New York City is spreading swiftly across the Northeast!  With only a few more days to go, over 70 farmworkers in Immokalee and their family members are making final preparations to embark on the 1,200-mile trek to the Big Apple, where they will be joined by hundreds of consumer allies — from both NYC and nearby cities — for a major march to Wendy’s doorstep in Manhattan. 

Today, we bring you an organizing report, directly from the advance team of CIW leaders and Alliance for Fair Food organizers who have been connecting with countless student groups, congregations, and community organizations in NYC for the last two weeks and mobilizing support for the big march.  If you haven’t already, make your plans to march alongside farmworkers and their allies on Nov. 18 to demand a Fair Food commitment from Wendy’s!  Caravans with hundreds of allies are leaving from Boston, Providence, New Haven, Burlington, DC, and Philly for Monday’s full day of action, so be sure to get in touch at to reserve your seat. 

And check back later this week for more news on the campaign front in NYC! 

In the weeks leading up to Monday’s march to the offices of Wendy’s largest shareholder, Trian Partners, at 280 Park Ave, energy and excitement has been building up throughout all five of NYC’s sprawling boroughs.  The Fair Food team has been zipping between back-to-back presentations, protests, and meetings, educating consumers on inhumane abuses faced by farmworkers in the U.S. and abroad; the groundbreaking protections of the Fair Food Program that are ending to those historic abuses; and Wendy’s responsibility to be a part of the industry-leading human rights program.  We’ve encountered thousands of conscious consumers, hailing from a diverse range of communities — from students, low-wage workers, and organizers to artists, people of faith, leaders, and even City Council members! — all of whom have eagerly become new allies to farmworkers in the growing movement for dignity and respect in the fields. 

During our time here, we’ve built awareness among students and young people, solidifying their commitment to the ever-growing Wendy’s Boycott, with an overwhelming 40+ presentations in nearly a dozen universities and high schools, including Columbia University (whose USAS chapter is featured at the top of the post!), Fordham, The New School, New York University, several CUNY Colleges, Riverdale Country Day School, Barnard, Princeton University, and more.  We’ve also spent time helping student leaders at Rutgers University in neighboring New Jersey fortify their brand-new Student/Farmworker Alliance chapter and launch their campaign to “Boot the Braids” from campus! 

Outside of the classroom, we’ve had powerful exchanges with worker organizations, such as New Immigrant Community Empowerment (pictured below) and Make the Road NY…

… and have been met with tremendous support from NYC’s diverse social justice community, including Next100, a start-up think tank of next generation policy leaders around climate, economic justice, and criminal legal system reform:

And NYC isn’t the only city gearing up for the action next week!  Caravans from across the Northeast are getting ready to pile into cars, vans, and buses to converge on the Big Apple – including our friends up in Vermont with Migrant Justice!

And last week, our visit coincided with the announcement of the CIW’s partnership with Park Slope Food Coop, one of the largest and longest-running coops in the country, which has pioneered a new chapter in Fair Food partnerships!  We met with coop members and leaders of their Labor Committee to celebrate the beginning of our shared work together to educate consumers of the Fair Food Program’s transformative impact on farms along the East Coast, and support the Program’s expansion.  

Our advance organizing efforts have drawn in thousands of new supporters over the course of the past two weeks, building a drumbeat of support ahead of the upcoming march through the heart of Manhattan and laying the groundwork for long-term, sustained organizing in the Campaign for Fair Food.  We’ll leave you with this inspiring photo from the CIW’s Community Center in Immokalee, which in the last few days has transformed into an art workshop of colorful flags and protest signs, to get you ready to march for farmworkers’ human rights with us on Monday!