Big news out of the Big Apple! As the buzz around the CIW’s upcoming Follow the Money March begins to reverberate throughout the bustling boroughs of New York City, support for NYC Council Resolution 1156 — introduced last November just days before 500+ New Yorkers marched on Wendy’s in Midtown Manhattan — is getting stronger by the day!
Today, 30 NYC-based religious leaders, from Brooklyn to the Bronx, have publicly released a powerful letter in support of the resolution calling on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program. These revered religious leaders — whose guidance reaches thousands upon thousands of people of faith each week, and whose moral appeal resounds from pulpits and bimas and lecterns across the city — root their eloquent call for farm labor justice in the personal experience many have had over the years with the Immokalee workers’ struggle, and with the campaign to bring Wendy’s into the award-winning social responsibility program:
Many of us have visited Immokalee and seen firsthand the real changes that the Fair Food Program has made in the lives of farmworkers since it was implemented in 2011. Others of us have marched alongside CIW, demanding justice for farmworkers, or welcomed CIW members to speak in our congregations. And in 2018, some of us fasted for five days alongside CIW outside of Trian’s offices, urging the company to end sexual violence in their supply chain once and for all by joining the Fair Food Program. Unfortunately, nearly two years later, Wendy’s and Trian have refused to be part of writing a new chapter of rights and respect in U.S. agriculture that is being realized by tens of thousands of farmworkers laboring on Fair Food Program farms stretching from Florida to New Jersey along the Eastern Seaboard.
The letter also sharpens the focus on the critical New York City dimension of this human rights campaign, spotlighting the power and responsibility of Park Ave.-based Trian Partners to bring the recalcitrant fast-food hold-out into the Fair Food Program, writing:
It’s not just that our city is home to many of Wendy’s franchises. Wendy’s major shareholder, Trian Partners, is based here in New York. This means that key decision-makers with the power to bring Wendy’s into the Fair Food Program and guarantee the human rights of farmworkers are well-known financial leaders based in our city. As fellow New Yorkers, we are dismayed that Wendy’s continues to be the only major fast-food company not participating in the Fair Food Program. Because Wendy’s has refused to join the Fair Food Program, thousands of New Yorkers, including us, are supporting the farmworker-called Wendy’s Boycott. Read the full letter and see all the signatories.
Borrowing a hope-filled refrain from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to conclude their letter, the faith leaders remind both the NYC Council and Wendy’s major investor Trian Partners, “the time is always ripe for doing good!” You can read the letter in full here.
Meanwhile, more and more NYC Council Members have signed on to co-sponsor the Resolution, with 17 sponsors on board as of today, and counting! Here is the full list of City Council Members and the districts they serve below:
Mark Levine — District 7
Brad S. Lander — District 39
Farah N. Louis — District 45
Helen K. Rosenthal — District 6
Adrienne E. Adams — District 28
Carlina Rivera — District 2
Ben Kallos — District 5
Diana Ayala — District 8
Antonio Reynoso — District 34
Francisco P. Moya — District 21
Justin L. Brannan — District 43
Stephen T. Levin — District 33
James G. Van Bramer — District 26
Carlos Menchaca — District 38
Deborah L. Rose — District 49
Margaret S. Chin — District 1
Andrew Cohen — District 11
If you live in New York City and don’t see your Council Member on the list, get in touch with your City Council member today and ask them to sign onto Resolution 1156 in support of farmworkers’ human rights!
That’s all for now, but check back soon for more updates as we get closer to next month’s big Follow the Money March and if you haven’t already, register to march alongside CIW for the 3-mile grand finale on Thursday, March 12 at 4 p.m. gathering in Union Square Park. Stay tuned!