Archive for the ‘Fair Food’ Category

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IMG_1578A small but mighty army of women descended on The Ohio State University in Columbus and Wendy’s National Headquarters in Dublin, Ohio on Thursday, November 15, 2018. At issue was Wendy’s unfair wage and labor practices and Ohio State’s complicity in the problem. United Methodist Women from our National Office, and our New York, East Ohio and West Ohio Conferences were joined by representatives from the National Farm Worker Ministry, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Fair Food Program and OSU’s Farmworker Alliance. I was there representing the East Ohio Conference Board of Church & Society and Bishop Tracy Malone.

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Our first stop was to OSU’s monthly Board of Trustees Meeting. Back in August, OSU signed a contract with Wendy’s for an on-campus restaurant and food services. Despite student’s fasting and protesting at the time, OSU signed the contract stating that if “more students came forward to object” the contract would be reconsidered.

Unfortunately, many of the student leaders graduated, leaving only a handful of young women to move the cause forward. Those few students organized UMW, CIW and FFP to help them with Thursday’s action event. The students gave flyers to attending trustees while UMW held a prayer vigil outside the building.

Next, it was on to Dublin for a protest and rally in front of Wendy’s headquarters. Wendy’s is the only major fast food or grocery chain that has not signed on to The Fair Food Program. The program is a farmworker and consumer driven initiative consisting of wage increases supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchases of tomatoes, and a human rights-based Code of Conduct throughout the tomato industry. Initially developed for Florida tomato growers and workers in Immokalee, the Program is being expanded to include farm workers throughout the country.

Initially, a meeting with Chairman Todd Penegor was requested by UMW to deliver over 5,000 postcards, signed by UMW members asking Wendy’s to sign on to the Fair Food Program. The campaign was a part of UMW’s Economic Inequality initiative. Denied the ability to meet with staff or present a letter to Penegor, UMW had the postcards delivered by mail and a giant replica postcard became part of the march. The letter was read aloud publicly by both UMW Ohio Conference Presidents.

Through our Social Principles and Resolutions, United Methodists are called to support the rights of all workers and especially farm workers. I feel honored to have been able to participate in this direct action in support of our farm workers with the bold and courageous women of UMW, CIW, FFP, OSU and NFWM.