BREAKING: New York City Council officially — and resoundingly — calls on Wendy’s “to join the Fair Food Program and support farmworkers’ human rights”!

CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo and Marley Monacello (second and third, from left) gather to celebrate with members of the New York City Council, Carmen de la Rosa, Councilmember Eric Dinowitz, and Councilmember Rita Joseph, the day that New York City Resolution 131 in support of the Fair Food Program and Wendy’s Boycott passed the City Council with overwhelming support.

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, members of the New York City Council – representing over eight million residents of the vibrant Big Apple – gathered in historic City Hall in Downtown Manhattan.  In an overwhelming show of support, nearly 90% of the City Council adopted Resolution 131 calling on Wendy’s – and specifically, New York-based Trian Partners and Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz — to support farmworkers’ human rights by joining the Fair Food Program.  Four full years after the resolution was first introduced by then-Councilmembers Brad Lander (now Comptroller of New York) and Mark Levine (now Manhattan Borough President), Councilwoman Carmen de la Rosa, the Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, celebrated the resolution’s long-awaited passage with the CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo as well as allies from across the city.  We extend our deepest gratitude to all of those who made yesterday’s major victory in the national Wendy’s Boycott possible, especially Councilmember De La Rosa, Comptroller Lander, and Borough President Mark Levine.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander (center) came to City Hall to celebrate the passage of the City Council Resolution supporting the Wendy’s Boycott. Comptroller Lander helped draft the original resolution and played an instrumental role in advancing the resolution through the City Council over the course of the past four years.  The CIW was also joined in celebration by stalwart New York allies, Workers Circle CEO Ann Toback (right) and Noa Baron (second from right).

In the days ahead, we will share more details, press coverage, and analysis of this exciting news out of New York!  For today, we bring you the inspiring words of Councilmember De La Rosa as she introduced the resolution in committee, and this morning’s hot-off-the-presses release about the resolution.  Stay tuned for more soon!

Opening Statement of Chair De La Rosa

Committee on Civil Service and Labor
Res.131-2022 (De La Rosa)

April 11th, 2023 @ 9:00am

Good morning, welcome to today’s vote of the Civil Service and Labor Committee. I am Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Committee. Today we are voting on the following resolution:

131-2022: Calling on Wendy’s fast-food chain to join the Fair Food Program and support farmworkers’ human rights.

Since January of 2013, farmworkers, led by the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, have publicly called upon Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program (FFP) to help secure safe working conditions and higher wages for United States agricultural workers. The Fair Food Program requires Participating Buyers to agree to purchase covered farm produce, from Participating Growers. These Participating Growers meet strict standards required by the Fair Food Code of Conduct, which was designed by farmworkers themselves and is independently monitored by the Fair Food Standards Council. The standards include the following requirements: the right to work free from sexual harassment and assault; safe and non-abusive working conditions including shade, water, and clean bathrooms in the fields; the ability to report mistreatment or unsafe conditions without retaliation; know-your-rights trainings; access to breaks and safe transportation to work. In addition to these labor standards, Participating Buyers pay Participating Growers a small premium for the purchased produce, known as the “Fair Food Premium,” which goes to supplement farmworkers’ paychecks.

Of the five largest fast-food corporations in the United States – McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s – only Wendy’s has refused to participate in the Fair Food Program.  This resolution is a statement that the New York City Council urges Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program to respect the dignity of farmworkers in its supply chain. This resolution will educate consumers about farm labor exploitation and forge an alliance between farmworkers and lawmakers to help end that exploitation. 

I’d like to thank committee staff for their hard work in preparing for this vote. Policy Analyst Elizabeth Arzt, as well as my staff, Chief of Staff James Burke, Legislative Director Kiana Diaz, and Communications Director Fraynette Familia. 




New York City, NY – The New York City Council resoundingly passed a resolution demanding Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking initiative that guarantees the rights of farmworkers on farms under its protection.  The FFP has won high praise for its unique effectiveness, including a Presidential Medal for its “extraordinary efforts” in fighting forced labor, and is widely recognized as the “gold standard” for protecting farmworkers against sexual harassment, assault, wage theft, and inhumane living conditions.

The resolution, introduced by Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor Carmen De La Rosa, highlights the Program’s unparalleled success in ensuring farmworkers are provided basic protections and fundamental human rights, and denounces  the fact that Wendy’s is the only major fast food chain in the U.S. to refuse to join the Program. The resolution comes at a time of increased national attention to worker exploitation within corporate supply chains, from child labor to systemic forced labor within agriculture. The New York City Council resolution will deepen scrutiny of Wendy’s and bolster the growing call for the hamburger giant to bring its network of supply farms under the Fair Food Program’s best-in-class protections. 

“The workforce that supplies the food we eat should not have to endure abuse in exchange for pennies that they depend on to feed their own families. If large corporations are going to operate in our city, they must do so sustainably. New York City has a globally influential economy, and we have opportunities here as leaders to create a more socially-just economy,” said Civil Service and Labor Chair, Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. “The workers who care for us on a daily basis deserve sustainable wages and humane working conditions. That’s why we are passing Resolution 131 to call on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program and support farmworkers’ human rights.”

“The resolution sends a clear message not only to Wendy’s, but to major food retailers everywhere: New Yorkers stand with farmworkers in their fight for dignity and freedom.“ said Lupe Gonzalo, a staff member of the CIW who was a farmworker for 12 years and today educates her fellow workers on their rights under the Fair Food Program on participating farms. “It is time for Wendy’s to follow the lead of its competitors and join the battle against forced labor in our food system by participating in the Fair Food Program, which is the gold standard of human rights protections in the fields.”

“Wendy’s depends on the labor of New York farmworkers to harvest the ingredients used for their menu, yet they are the only major fast food chain that refuses to comply with the Fair Food Program. By refusing to join the Fair Food Program, Wendy’s unacceptably turns a blind eye to farm workers’ human rights instead of providing fair wages and humane working conditions that our farm workers deserve,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.

“As a multi-billion-dollar corporation, it’s past time for Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program. Every worker – especially the farmworkers who harvest our produce – deserve humane working conditions and a good wage,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I’m glad to see the City Council pass our resolution today. As one of the boroughs with the most Wendy’s in New York City, Manhattan must stand in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in their fight for Wendy’s to join the FFP and support farmworkers’ human rights.”

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) – a worker-based human rights organization founded by farmworkers in the early 1990s in the agricultural community of Immokalee, Florida – pioneered the Fair Food Program in 2011.  The CIW and its consumer allies  have campaigned for over a decade calling on Wendy’s to join the FFP. In 2018, dozens of farmworkers and allies fasted for five days outside the Manhattan office of Nelson Peltz, who is the Chairman of Wendy’s Board of Directors and the company’s largest shareholder. In March of this year, the CIW organized a march of nearly 600 people in Palm Beach, FL, home of Nelson Peltz, demanding his company join the Program. 


About the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW):  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization based in Immokalee, FL committed to improving working conditions through enforceable human rights protections within supply chains. They are the recipients of the 2015 Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking.

About the Fair Food Program (FFP): The FFP is a human rights program, combining worker, consumer, and buyer power to ensure humane working and living conditions for farmworkers on participating farms. Participating retailers in the Program agree to purchase from suppliers who comply with a worker-driven code of conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy for forced labor, systemic child labor, and sexual assault. Retailers also pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid directly to workers in the form of a bonus by their employers to address farmworkers’ generational poverty. Since the program’s inception in 2011, buyers have paid over $42 million in premiums. Harvard Business Review called the FFP “one of the most important social-impact stories of the past century,” while the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking called it “an international benchmark in the fight against modern-day slavery.” The FFP received a Presidential Medal in 2015, a James Beard Award in 2016, and a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 2017, among its many national and international recognition.

You can read the resolution in full here.