May 18, 2013 Rally & March for Fair Food
On May 18, 2013, 2pm, the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW), and farm worker and immigrant justice allies including the Student/Farmworker Alliance, NICE, etc. rallied at Union Square to bring awareness of the CIW Fair Food Program (FFP), and to pressure Wendy’s Restaurant to sign on and support fairer wages and working conditions. Many corporations, and nearly all the major fast food restaurants–including McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway, and Burger King have signed on–agreeing to pay just one penny more per pound of tomatoes. That one cent premium essentially adds up to a slightly better future for nearly all workers, and their families working within the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange.
The campaign focuses now on Wendy’s Restaurants, the last major fast food retailer to sign the agreement. Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick has stalled on any action, yet in 2005 while serving as CEO of Taco Bell, Emil was the first among the fast food five to sign the FFP.
The action was creative, and highly visual. The CIW came with many of their large blue pole banners, the cardboard tomato signs, and the articulated Wendy’s puppet were created with help from the People’s Puppets of OWS. Music provided by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra; there were also two ukuleles leading food justica chants in the front.
A short list of media that were present on the march, and where you may find additional documentation: hard-grounder/stacey (ustream), occupy bus tour (photos), tim e (twitter/photos), ciw (photos), people’s puppets/dominic (twitter/photos), darthmarkh (twitter). One of the primary twitter hashtags for info about the rally was #fairfoodnation.
Getting ready for the event, the little girl in the purple dinosaur helmet picked out 3-4 signs before deciding to go the classic “Wendy’s old fashioned exploitation”. The buckets are the same type used by tomato pickers.
Instead many speakers talking about the campaign, silent street theater was used to explain it instead. Soon afterwards organizers went over march logistics before filtering out of Union Square to the nearby Wendy’s.
video of the street theater, part of the march, and interview about the fair food campaign
Extended (b-roll) footage of marching and picketing action, nothing else.
The march filters out of Union Square.
Union Square was quite busy today, and not just with the Saturday Greenmarket. Today was also the 7th Annual Dance Parade NYC whose route passes next to Union Square.
Protesting in front of the Union Square Wendy’s with young students from the East Village Community School. one of the chants heard during the picket was “Hey Wendy’s Shame on You, Farm Workers deserve rights too!”
A banner highlighting Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick’s stance on the FFP.
A song heard along the march accompanied by ukuleles, “J-U-S, J-U-S-T-I-C-E is What We Want, Justice for Immokalee”.
The Rude Mechanical Orchestra seemed fired up and especially fierce today.
Heading down Broadway to the next Wendy’s. There are at least 400-500 people, and a handful of cops. Some of the cops are already ahead of the marchers at the next Wendy’s warning the management there about the group soon to arrive on their doorstep.
People now picketing in front of the Wendy’s
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