Article contributed by ALESIA BANI, with photos by Temple SFA Photographer DANIELLE BRODSKY
Stickers and pins displaying the Wendy’s logo stating “Boycott Wendy’s” are circulating around Temple University.
Members of Temple’s Student Farmworker Alliance are trying to get students involved in the boycott against the international fast food chain.
At 3:30 pm on Feb. 1 2019, members of the organization marched from Gladfelter Hall to the Wendy’s on 1708 N Broad St chanting “Up, up, with the Fair Food Nation! Down, down, with exploitation!”
The hour long picket came after 5 days of information sessions on campus covering the injustices in the agricultural industry, including wage theft and sexual assault.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their ally group Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) are working to hold corporations accountable for ending these abuses through the CIW’s Fair Food Program.
Currently, Wendy’s is the last major fast food chain that refuses to comply and buy from farms within the program. Temple University has a contract with the Wendy’s on Broad Street through the Diamond Dollars Program.
In an official statement from corporate, Wendy’s stood firm on their business practices, stating:
“We have always been committed to fair wages and human rights for those who supply our food. We have long upheld high standards of quality and a commitment to human dignity throughout our business and our supply chain.”
Wendy’s added they recently announced a commitment to source all of their tomatoes from indoor greenhouse farms, and claimed they have not purchased commodity field-grown tomatoes from the predominant area which the CIW supports.
Senior History major, Nova Friedman, the Temple SFA Coordinator, said on their way to Wendy’s, students joined and learned about the project.
“It was such an incredible display of determination and unity seeing everyone brave the cold together,” she said.
Friedman began creating Temple SFA’s chapter at the end of the Fall 2018 semester. Her interest peaked after reading the book Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook, where she learned about The Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Friedman, along with Danielle Brodsky, Temple SFA photographer; Ximena Gerardo, the national co-coordinator for the Student/Farmworker Alliance; and Gerardo Reyes Chávez from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers attempted a letter delegation to the Wendy’s manager.
According to Friedman, the manager refused to accept the letter and threatened to call 911.
The Temple Student Farmworker Alliance had their first general body on Wednesday, Feb. 13, where they wrote Valentines letters to President Richard M. Englert, asking him to cut Temple’s contract with Wendy’s. The manager from the Wendy’s on Broad St was invited to attend by the organization.
Students can sign the “Boot the Braids” petition to remove Wendy’s from Temple’s Diamond Dollars program until the company joins the Fair Food Program. Students can also get in contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org to get pins, stickers or get involved with the movement.
“By doing business with Wendy’s, Temple University is saying we’re okay with supporting human rights violations,” Friedman added, “it’s our job as the student body to tell the administration that we’re not.”