By Ronica Hutchison–
U of L’s Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance (CFSA) is currently mobilizing efforts against Wendy’s, a popular fast food restaurant on campus. They urge all U of L students to join these efforts.
The group says that tomatoes used by the restaurant are picked by “modern day slaves.” These laborers are said to be “paid by the piece rather than by the hour and typically earn about $12,000 a year.”
On Feb. 2, the group did a banner drop outside the SAC that read: “WENDY’S ABUSES FARMWORKERS. BOYCOTT WENDY’S.” The group also posted a photo of the banner on their Facebook profile along with the hashtags “#BootTheBraids” and “#FairFoodNation” in order to spread awareness.
Recently, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has been urging major industries to sign the Fair Food Agreement. Under this pact, companies would pay farmworkers one cent more per pound of tomatoes picked, to almost double workers’ salaries. Fourteen major companies agreed. Wendy’s denied to sign the agreement three years in a row.
U of L’s CFSA is one of many campus groups around the country organizing their efforts and demanding boycott of the restaurant, in hopes that the industry will join the movement to improve workers’ wages. The group addresses their reasoning for the creation of such a group:
“After learning of these injustices, we realized that we had to act instead of simply sitting in a classroom learning about issues from which we are far removed without doing anything about them. We created the Cardinal Student/Farmworker Alliance, and this past semester, we tried to meet with Wendy’s executives to encourage them to sign the agreement, but they refused to meet with us. So as young students hungry for a more just world, we have decided to harness our economic power and send a message with our pockets to Wendy’s. We stand in solidarity with farmworkers as we announce our student boycott of Wendy’s and officially join the national student campaign”.
Many students also feel passionate about this issue, and aren’t afraid to voice their concerns.
“I love this university, and especially in light of recent events, I want to see us come together as a community, take stand against injustice, and create positive change – simply by purchasing lunch elsewhere,” said Kelsey Voit, a member of U of L’s CFSA.
The group has gained serious momentum as of the past few weeks, and plans on hosting multiple events to raise awareness about the campaign. On Feb. 16, they’ll be showing a documentary highlighting the CIW’s mission statement at 5:30 p.m. in the Chao Auditorium.