City Council passes resolutions to boycott Wendy’s and prepare for nuclear emergency

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 11:16pm

Ann Arbor residents at a pedestrian safety event before a City Council meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

Ann Arbor residents at a pedestrian safety event before a City Council meeting at City Hall Monday evening. Buy this photo
Claire Meingast/Daily

On Monday night, Ann Arbor City Council passed resolutions to encourage members of the community to support the boycott of Wendy’s, to strengthen nuclear emergency planning and to support a strong Clean Air Act and strong Clean Water Rule.

At City Hall, before the city council meeting began, the A2 Safe Transport, a citizens advocacy group working to ensure pedestrian safety, rallied for their cause. They are attempting to implement Vision Zero, a multidisciplinary approach to address local traffic technologies and policies.

LSA junior Cindy Lin, intern for Councilmember Kathy Griswold, D-Ward 2, is on the A2 Safe Transport committee. She discussed how the New York-based organization can bring its initiatives to Ann Arbor.

“One of the initiatives we are working on is based on Vision Zero, which is really successful,” Lin said. “I live in New York City and that’s where it’s based, so it’s interesting to see how New York is really successful in this and Ann Arbor is not. I’m trying to work with the CSG assembly to work on a resolution to get the school to support issues that Kathy Griswold has for pedestrian safety.”

At the meeting, the Resolution to Encourage Transportation Collaboration initiative passed, allowing the city of Ann Arbor to work closely with members of the University of Michigan and other appropriate collaborators to create innovative solutions for the urban transportation landscape of Ann Arbor. Griswold sponsored the resolution.

Following the discussion of transportation, the Resolution to Encourage Ann Arbor Community Members to Support Farm Workers Rights and to Boycott Wendy’s and Other Food Service Providers not Supportive of the Fair Food Program was passed. This resolution, which advocates the boycott of the fast-food chain because of labor concerns, was sponsored by Councilmembers Elizabeth Nelson, D-Ward 4, Jack Eaton, D-Ward 4, and Griswold.

Kimberly Daley, a postdoctoral fellow in Public Health, spoke during the public commentary section of City Council. She works to spread awareness about labor justice in the food system and explained the history of the Wendy’s boycott to the council.

“The Fair Food Program (has signed) with 14 multi-billion-dollar corporations, which has virtually eliminated exploitation for hundreds of thousands of farm workers,” Daley said. “Of these 14 corporations, McDonalds, Subway, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Burger King and Walmart have all signed on. Wendy’s refuses, which is why workers have asked consumers across the country to boycott them.”

Councilmember Jane Lumm, I-Ward-2, did vote to pass the resolution but expressed some hesitations with the political message that this boycott would give.

“For me, resolutions like this, there needs to be a direct local connection,” Lumm said. “Otherwise it becomes a more political message or statement- with all due respect to the cosponsors. But I just think in the future I’d like to focus on making positions and statements like this that have a direct local connection.”

Next, the council passed the Resolution to Strengthen Nuclear Emergency Planning for the Population of the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This resolution would support the stockpiling of nonprescription potassium iodine in communities located within 50 miles of an actively operating nuclear power plant, for the preservation of public safety. In the instance of a nuclear accident, Ann Arbor residents would be encouraged to take the nonprescription potassium iodide (KI) pills in order to prevent thyroid cancer.

Ann Arbor resident David Schonberger spoke during the public comments and highly recommended preparing for a nuclear emergency for health reasons and financial reasons.

“Even if public health officials do not recommend it, the demand for KI will be high following a nuclear emergency,” Schonberger said. “The KIU should be a part of an emergency plan including evacuation, sheltering, and avoidance of contaminated food in the event of a nuclear emergency.”

Councilmember Ali Ramlawi, D-Ward-5, approved of the spending, and brought forward President Trump’s withdrawal from nuclear treaties as reasoning for supporting the policy.

“I think this is a very forward thinking resolution that is being brought forward and appreciate the efforts to bring it to council,” Ramlawi said. “We have a president right now that is withdrawing from the nuclear treaties with Russia. We’re entering a new arms race possibly with nuclear weapons, so for the cost of less than a dollar per person this is a sound investment.”