COVERAGE OF WEEKLONG FAST
Ohio State students fast, protest against university's lease renewal with fast-food chain Wendy's, National Catholic Reporter (24 March 2017)
Students look to pressure Wendy’s contract with hunger strike, The OSU Lantern (20 March 2017)
After Ohio State Extends Wendy's Lease, Students Fast For Farm Worker Solidarity, WOSU Radio (20 March 2017)
The Return to Human Rights Tour Columbus, WCRS Columbus (19 March 2017)
PC(USA) issues letter urging Wendy's to join Fair Food Program, Presbyterian News Service (15 March 2017)
Campus Notebook: Mascot change more Franciscan; freshman's medical invention; solidarity with tomato-pickers, National Catholic Reporter (10 March 2017)
Wendy's boycotters to go hungry for Fair Food, New Food Economy (7 March 2017)
City by city coverage of tour
PREVIEWS: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
UNC groups plan march against Wendy’s for farmworker rights, The Daily Tar Heel (23 March 2017)
HIGHLIGHTS: Madison, Wisconsin
Protesters target downtown Madison Wendy's over farm labor issues, The Cap Times (21 March 2017)
HIGHLIGHTS: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Farm workers call for human rights at Wendy’s restaurants, Workday Minnesota (20 March 2017)
Farm workers bring campaign to Twin Cities, Workday Minnesota (16 March 2017)
HIGHLIGHTS: Gainesville, Florida
Wendy’s protest spans UF campus, The Independent Florida Alligator (17 March 2017)
Wendy's Boycott, Gainesville Sun (16 March 2017)
PREVIEWS: Tampa, Florida
Still hungry for human rights, Immokalee Workers' Return to Human Rights Tour stops in Tampa Wednesday, Creative Loafing Tampa (23 March 2017)
MidPoint Monday March 27: Coalition of Immokalee Workers, WMNF (22 March 2017)
HIGHLIGHTS: Nashville, Tennessee
Students Demand Vanderbilt Cut Ties With Wendy's, News Channel 5 Network (18 March 2017)
Where's Their Beef? Vanderbilt Students Protest University's Relationship With Wendy's, Patch.com (20 March 2017)
SZCZESNIEWSKI: On tolerating human rights violations: Why Wendy's shouldn't be on our meal money, Vanderbilt Hustler (13 March 2017)
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Hundreds of farmworkers, consumer allies converge in Columbus for major vigil and parade to support 19 OSU student fasters, escalate national Wendy’s Boycott
Weeklong student fast demanding OSU cut contract with fast-food giant in support of farmworkers’ call for Wendy’s to join award-winning Fair Food Program approaches conclusion as hundreds mobilize for Friday vigil at Wendy’s Dublin headquarters, massive Sunday Parade for Human Rights through downtown Columbus
Columbus, OH – On Friday, March 24 at 4:00pm, scores of farmworkers and consumer allies from across the country will hold a vigil outside Wendy’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, OH (at the corner of W Dublin Granville Rd. and Dale Dr.) to kick off a major weekend of mobilization intensifying the national boycott of Wendy’s launched by farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) a year ago in response to the food retailer’s steadfast refusal to join the CIW’s internationally-recognized Fair Food Program (FFP) to protect farmworkers’ human rights in the retailer’s supply chain. The weekend will conclude with a massive, several hundreds-strong Parade for Human Rights on Sunday, March 26 starting at 2:00pm at Goodale Park in Columbus (120 W Goodale St.) and ending at the South Oval inside the campus of The Ohio State University. Both Friday’s vigil and Sunday’s parade will highlight the weeklong fast undertaken by 19 students at the Ohio State University to escalate their demand that OSU cut its contract with the Wendy’s restaurant on campus in support of the national Wendy’s Boycott. The fast, begun this past Monday, will finalize with a fast-breaking ceremony at the conclusion of Sunday’s parade.
Friday’s vigil will feature high-profile religious leaders including Julie Taylor, Executive Director of National Farmworker Ministry. Sunday’s Parade for Human Rights will be attended by dozens of local and national human rights organizations, including the Central Ohio Labor Council, People’s Justice Project, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. The parade is the highlight of the CIW’s 2,000 mile, 12-city Return to Human Rights Tour, mobilizing thousands of consumers for the Wendy’s Boycott.
Friday, March 24: Vigil for Human Rights at 4:00pm, outside of Wendy’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, OH at the corner of W Dublin Granville Rd. and Dale Dr.
Sunday, March 26: Massive Parade for Human Rights at 2:00pm, starting at Goodale Park in Columbus, OH (120 W Goodale St.) and ending at the South Oval inside the campus of The Ohio State University with a rally and fast-breaking ceremony
The Return to Human Rights Tour marks mark one year since the national boycott was launched, a year during which tens of thousands of consumers pledged to boycott Wendy’s over the company’s unconscionable resistance to joining the Fair Food Program – in which all of Wendy’s major fast food competitors, including McDonald’s and Burger King, are participating. In 2015, the Fair Food Program received a Presidential Medal for its “extraordinary efforts in combatting human trafficking” and other human rights abuses in corporate supply chains. Late last year, the United Nations called the FFP 'an international benchmark' for human rights protection, while Fordham law professor and international labor law expert James Brudney called the FFP “substantially more successful than other corporate compliance programmes” in a new textbook on business and human rights.
The CIW launched the national boycott of Wendy’s in 2016 after the company shifted its purchases from Florida to Mexico following the implementation of the FFP. Rather than support US growers setting new standards for human rights in the agricultural industry, Wendy’s took its tomato purchases to an industry where wage theft, sexual violence, modern-day slavery and other human rights abuses have been widely reported. In an October 2016 statement, Wendy’s responded to concerns about human rights abuse in their supply chain: “We are quite happy with the quality and taste of the tomatoes we are sourcing from Mexico.”
In a statement, OSU student faster Alex Hoey declared: “We are fasting in solidarity with farmworkers, many of whom have had to go hungry while harvesting the food we all eat because of Wendy’s indifference to their exploitation. Wendy’s has a fundamental responsibility to listen to the farmworkers who make their profits possible, and to listen to their own neighbors here in Columbus. To ensure human rights for farmworkers, Wendy’s must join the Fair Food Program."
In a statement, CIW’s Santiago Perez responded to the news of the upcoming fast: “As farmworkers, we are humbled by the support of students at OSU who are taking this extraordinary step of solidarity to bring their demand for justice directly to Wendy’s doorstep. The pain and power of fasting are familiar to us, and we know from experience that it is no small sacrifice. We are honored to stand with students and members of the Columbus community as they embark on this courageous protest.”
CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo added, “As the women and men who harvest tomatoes for multi-billion dollar corporations like Wendy’s, we believe ‘quality’ is not simply measured by the taste of a piece of fruit, but also by the guarantee of dignity and fundamental human rights for those of us who pick it. A hollow code of conduct and superficial audits that do not include worker participation and meaningful enforcement cannot possibly achieve real protection of workers’ human rights. The Fair Food Program, driven by workers and rooted in partnership with participating retailers and growers, is a proven success model. It is high time that Wendy's return to Florida and its longtime Florida-based suppliers, return to the highest human rights standards in the produce industry today, and join its fast-food competitors in supporting the Fair Food Program. As we embark on the Return to Human Rights Tour, we will also carry the call for human rights of all people, in an age when those rights are facing grave dangers. We join millions of others across this country in declaring that we will not slide backwards into the darker corners of our history, but rather will continue to march toward the horizon.”
About the Fair Food Program: The Fair Food Program is a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and fourteen major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart, heralded as “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US on the front page of the New York Times. Participating retailers agree to purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy for slavery and sexual harassment. Retailers also pay a “penny-per-pound” premium, which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out directly to workers by their employers. Since the Program’s inception in 2011, buyers have paid over $23 million into the FFP. In 2015, the Program expanded for the first time beyond Florida to tomato fields in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, and in the 2015-2016 season, the Fair Food Program expanded to two new Florida crops, strawberries and bell peppers.
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