The following report comes from the Seattle General Defense Committee (GDC) of the IWW.
The Greater Seattle IWW General Defense Committee held a strong picket line at the Wendy’s on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle for Decentralized May Day. This action was in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers boycott of the chain. Wendy’s is the only major fast food chain not to sign an agreement to refrain from buying tomatoes from growers with severe sexual assault and labor issues in their fields. At the same time, the Seattle IWW General Membership Branch was hosting a boycott at the Wendy’s on Lake City Way in North Seattle.
We had about 40 different people come through the action and held a spirited and vibrant presence for almost two hours. In that time we emptied the restaurant entirely and turned dozens of customers away. The vast majority of attempted patrons, as well as most bystanders and employees, were strongly sympathetic to the struggle. At the end of the action we all felt that it was an empowering display of direct-action and solidarity.
At around 7:30 PM one angry driver decided that running over people to get a burger was how they wanted to spend their night. With just enough hesitation to show that their decision was intentional, they sped into our picket line pushing several people onto the hood. Immediately following this another car decided to follow and attempted to run over two other people. Fortunately the injuries were not too severe, but the victims needed treatment from our medics on hand.
Unsurprisingly, the police (numbering four at the time but later increasing to several dozen) did nothing, and even implied the drivers may attempt to come after activists in civil court. In the face of this, though, all of us had the victims’ backs. It says a lot about the strength of our solidarity with one another that just about everyone on hand moved in the way of the vehicles to prevent them from simply hitting and running.
All in all, despite the attempts at murder, the action was a success. We hope this sends a message to Wendy’s as to the severity of the situation. These actions won’t stop until they make the right choice.