On August 6, 2013, members of the Real Food Challenge, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Rhode Island State Council of Churches, Brown Student Labor Alliance, Brown University, Olneyille Neighborhood Association, SEIU 1199, Unite Here! 217, Freedom Food Farm, and Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, and the Providence community joined together in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Wendy’s Week of Action. After meeting one another, over 20 community members marched into Stop and Shop (at the same location as Wendy’s, 850 Manton Ave) shouting “¿Qué queremos? ¡Justicia!” We picketed in the produce section for a few minutes, then two Student Labor Alliance members gave speeches until we were asked by the manager to leave.
We finished speaking in the parking lot and walked over to Wendy’s, where we peacefully picketed for fifteen minutes while handing out flyers. While we were picketing, a teacher from the MET high school, where Oscar Otzoy of the CIW spoke three months ago, drove by and voiced her support for the CIW! After those flyering were confronted by the managers, we attempted to head as a group into Wendy’s to give a letter to the managers. Our peaceful delegation, led by Pastors Rick Kremer and Santiago Rodriguez of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, was blocked from entering by both managers, who asked us to leave immediately and threatened to both lock the Wendy’s and call the police. After asking them multiple times to take the letter, they gave us the contact info of Bob Bertini, Wendy’s spokesperson. We did a group evaluation of the action and then left. As many of us waited for the bus home, we saw police pull into Wendy’s; the managers’ overreaction is consistent with Wendy’s’ (mis)characterization of the Fair Food Nation as malicious or rash. Wendy’s is clearly feeling the heat — Wendy’s, it’s time to sign the Fair Food Agreement! We’ll be back! Click here for a CIW report-back from the national week of action: http://ciw-online.org/2013/08/13/wendys-week-of-action-sweeps-through-midwest-on-way-to-east-coast/.
Here are a few pictures of the action: