Students Declare Nationwide Boycott of Wendy’s

St. Petersburg, FL – On Saturday, March 21st, students from around the country took the stage before a crowd of thousands at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Concert for Fair Food to declare a nationwide student boycott of fast-food chain, Wendy’s. The concert, featuring Grammy-winning artists Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia, was the latest development in a two-year campaign calling on Wendy’s to help eliminate farmworker poverty and abuse through the Fair Food Program (FFP), recently heralded on the front page of the New York Times as “the best workplace monitoring system… in the US.”

The student-led boycott will be launched at Ohio State University and will snowball over the coming months as dozens more universities adopt the boycott. The action comes as part of the larger student-led campaign, "Boot the Braids," which is aimed at ending Wendy's contractual relationships with universities around the country until the company joins the FFP.

“All of Wendy’s fast food competitors have committed to buy only from farms where farmworkers are guaranteed basic human rights, and yet Wendy’s has so far rejected that responsibility,” said Amanda Ferguson, a member of the Student/Farmworker Alliance at the Ohio State University. “Now we’re declaring a nationwide student boycott and we will continue to escalate our efforts until Wendy’s joins the Fair Food Program.”

The only other boycott in the history of the 15-year Campaign for Fair Food was declared by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) against Taco Bell in 2002. Then-president Emil Brolick witnessed Taco Bell signing the first Fair Food Agreement with CIW in 2005, declaring in a press release that “any solution must be industry-wide.” Now, as president and CEO of Wendy’s, Emil Brolick has refused even to talk with CIW, much less commit Wendy’s to the Fair Food Program.

At its height, students at over 300 universities, colleges, and high schools were actively supporting the Taco Bell Boycott. Students at 25 educational institutions successfully organized to ‘Boot the Bell,’ ending or preventing Taco Bell contracts with their schools.

“With ‘Boot the Braids’ and the Wendy's student boycott, we are reminding Emil Brolick of the power students have in the Campaign for Fair Food,” Ferguson continued. “The Concert for Fair Food was not only a celebration of the transformation taking root in the agriculture industry as a result of the Fair Food Program, but also a call to action going out to thousands of students across the country to boycott Wendy’s until they, too, are part of the solution.”


About the Fair Food Program

The Fair Food Program (FFP) is an historic partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and thirteen multibillion-dollar tomato retailers, including Wendy’s major competitors Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds, and Subway. By committing to the FFP, participating retailers require more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers, agree to purchase exclusively from those who meet these higher standards, and pay a “penny-per-pound” premium which is passed down through the supply chain and paid out to workers by their employers.

The FFP has won widespread acclaim as a human rights model by institutions from the Clinton Global Initiative to the United Nations and heralded in a White House report as “one of the most successful and innovative programs” for combating modern-day slavery. Since 2011, participating buyers have invested more than $16 million into the Fair Food Program, supporting the first significant pay increase for workers in over 30 years.

About the Student/Farmworker Alliance

The Student/Farmworker Alliance ( is a national network of students and young people organizing in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to eliminate exploitative conditions and farmworker poverty in the agriculture industry.


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