The Worst Thing About Wendy’s …

I try to avoid fast food. Although I don’t always succeed, I am sure to avoid eating at Wendy’s. Today, I’m participating in a fast and will be part of a peaceful protest in front of a Wendy’s not far from where I live. Here’s why …


In December 1997, six farmworkers in Immokalee, FL made the decision to stop eatng un l the growers who owned the farms on which they toiled would hear their concerns. Low wages, verbal and physical violence, sexual abuse, and even forced labor plagued Florida tomato fields, and the workers who picked in those fields demanded better conditions. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ members’ hunger strike lasted 30 days, and only ended when former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop John Nevins of the Catholic Diocese of Venice intervened to call for a dialogue with growers, on the condition that the workers would break their fast. On January 18, 1998, at a Catholic mass with over 800 people in attendance, they did.

Today, the fight for justice in the agricultural industry continues. Incredible progress has been made since 1998 through the CIW’s Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and major food retailers that has transformed the tomato industry in seven states along the East Coast. But outside of the protections of the Program, wages are still stagnant and hundreds of thousands of workers are still vulnerable to human rights abuses.

We, as allied faith leaders, have made a commitment to carry on this struggle to eradicate forced labor, gender-based violence, wage theft, and other such violations in the fields through our alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for the establishment and expansion of the Fair Food Program. We commit ourselves to standing with our nation’s farmworkers in their mission to bring the powers of the food industry into partnership with them.

We witness, especially, the ongoing refusal of Wendy’s, the last major fast food holdout, and their stubborn denial to do what is right in the eyes of their consumers and their global community. Instead of joining an initiave called “the best workplace monitoring program”
in the U.S. in the New York Times and ensuring that workers’ voices and personhood are respected in their supply chain, Wendy’s has unconscionably chosen to shift purchases away from participating Fair Food Program farms in Florida to Mexican fields rife with endemic and unchecked abuse.

On January 18, 2018, we will fast and demonstrate outside of Wendy’s franchises across the country in solidarity and protest. We will call upon the leadership of Wendy’s to join their peers and listen to their consumers, and to finally sit at the table of justice with their workers.


So today, I’m fasting, praying, and protesting for justice for the people who work hard to plant, tend, and harvest the food you and I eat.

If you see a Wendy’s today, stay away … or better yet, go in and tell the manager you wish they would join the Fair Food Program. But don’t buy anything there until they come around.

Here’s a prayer written by my friend Wesley with whom I’ll be protesting today. I hope you’ll pray it with us:

Creating and Redeeming God, be with Your people today in their struggle for justice. We thank You for the blessing of gathering together as people with common purpose, and we are grateful that You have directed us to Your transforming and renewing work. God, we ask today that You bring Your spirit into the lives of Wendy’s owners and executives. May they come to know Your peace and seek out Your voice. Surround them with Your love that shatters boundaries and abolishes injustice. May they respond in faithful discipleship to Your presence and join with their neighbors in creating a just world for all.

Lord, empower Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program. May they become a leader in their industry not through exploitation but through partnership; not in violation but in dignity; not by stratification but by fellowship. May they engage Your call in the world to announce a new day in this nation’s harvest, and in doing so may they become an instrument of the coming of Your beloved community.

We pray this with knowledge of Your love for us and with confidence in Your reforming activity in the world. In Jesus,


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