Join Us
Jose Lopez, Author at Food Chain Workers Alliance - Page 2 of 3
All Posts By

Jose Lopez

Congratulations to this year’s James Beard Foundation Leadership Award honorees!

By | News | No Comments

It seems only yesterday when our Co-Directors, Joann Lo and Jose Oliva, had the honor of receiving the 2017 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. We were delighted to hear that Ramon Torres, the President of one of our member organizations, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, and Dara Cooper from theNational Black Food & Justice Alliance, a co-founder of the HEAL Food Alliancewith us, were selected to be two of 2018 James Beard Foundation Award recipients! Jose and Joann nominated both of them for this year’s award!

We are fortunate to have such wonderful, hardworking members and allies and overjoyed to see their hard work be recognized. Let’s celebrate with Ramon, Dara, and the thousands of workers and farmers in the food sector who are benefiting from their great work!And congratulations to all the James Beard Foundation recipients! They include Ferd Hoefner, Senior Strategic Advisor, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Doug Rauch, President/Founder, Daily Table; and Shirley Sherrod, Executive Director, Southwest Georgia Project.

Another Victory for Food Workers and Their Families

By | News | No Comments

The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) has delivered a series of positive impacts to LA County’s food system.  Chief among them are wins for local food workers.  

Teamsters have leveraged GFPP’s adoption by the LA Unified School District in various ways including calling out and blocking union-busting tactics by Gold Star, a local distributor in the district’s supply chain.  Over 150 drivers voted in favor of union representation by the Teamsters a few years ago after employees were free to engage in workplace organizing without fear of retaliation–a requirement of participating in GFPP.  We’re now celebrating warehouse workers at Gold Star winning a union contract last month–totaling nearly 400 employees who now have higher wages, better health benefits, and stronger workplace protections.  Big congrats to the Teamsters Local 63 and Joint Council 42–it’s a testament to their talented organizing and ability to use GFPP as tool for securing increased protections and higher wages for food workers!

And GFPP continues to the expand beyond LA. On the heels of last year’s adoption by the Chicago Public Schools (June), Chicago Parks Department (September), and the City of Chicago (October) comes interest from Cook County to do the same. The county seat of Chicago is in the midst of drafting a policy that would leverage GFPP to incentivize contracts for producers of color and women-owned food businesses as well as businesses that hire from local low-income communities.

Making History with H.E.A.L

By | News | No Comments

Making History with HEAL

The ambitious work of the HEAL (Health Environment Agriculture and Labor) Food Alliance is taking flight. HEAL’s mission is to build our collective power to create food and farm systems that are healthy for our families, accessible and affordable for all communities, and fair to the hard-working people who grow, distribute, prepare, and serve our food — while protecting the air, water, and land we all depend on. The broad-based, multi-sector, and multi-racial coalition was launched by Food Chain Workers Alliance together with Real Food ChallengeUnion of Concerned Scientists, and the National Black Food & Justice Alliance. We held our second annual summit in Cleveland, Ohio this past March 9-12.  

The summit was historic in many ways. We gathered over 150 people from all over the US to commit together to work towards a food system that prioritizes people and planet over profits.  We committed to continue to build a new generation of political leaders that can run for office and win using the Real Food Platform as a fundamental pledge to their communities and to the US. We also committed to continue to build HEAL as a base run by people of color and with the agenda of prioritizing frontline communities first and foremost. We committed to work together with local partners to win Good Food Purchasing Policies in many new cities. HEAL is now poised to take a major leap into a mass movement toward a just and fair food system!

Food Chain Workers Alliance and the HEAL Food Alliance  Declare Solidarity with the 2018 U.S. Prison Strike

By | News | No Comments


Yesterday, prisoners across the United States launched a nation-wide strike demanding an end to prison slavery, poor living conditions, and death by incarceration. The strike began on the death anniversary of George Jackson, a former Black Panther and a leading voice of the 1970s prison movement, and is expected to last for 19 days, ending on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising.

The strike was called in response to the death of seven incarcerated individuals and a prison-wide lockdown resulting from inhumane living conditions at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina in April.

In a statement made by members of the organizing group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, ten demands were listed, including a call to end compulsory labor for meager wages, a widespread practice in the U.S. prison system that strike organizers call a modern form of slavery. The call demands “An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.”

Over 30,000 incarcerated people work in farming or food-related positions, many making less than a dollar a day, often under difficult labor conditions. In some cases, these incarcerated workers are producing or preparing food for consumption in their prison facility, and in others, they are harvesting produce or manufacturing value-added products for profit-driven corporations. These practices are rampant across the prison system, in public and private prisons, including immigrant detention centers, and is a legacy of the U.S. slave economy.  

We are united in solidarity with incarcerated people  who are courageously engaging in work stoppages and hunger strikes. We support the full  demands of the prisoners (listed below) and call on our allies in labor, farming, and food justice to do the same. Write a statement of solidarity, a letter to the editor, join a solidarity action, or tweet your support today. Reach out to or if you need support crafting or amplifying your statement.

Tweet your support today.


Full List of Demands:

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and -parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

Mapping the Restaurant High-Value Supply Chain

By | Front Page, News, Reports | No Comments

A report on restaurant industry trends by Food Chain Workers Alliance in collaboration with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. This study aims to portray the primary aspects and practices of the high-road restaurant industry nationwide in relation to their supply chains, as well as to describe what it means to be a good food business, why it matters, and how policy can direct more companies to embrace these practices.

Read More

Eating Well selected Joann Lo & Jose Oliva as part of the 2018 American Food Heroes

By | Front Page, News | No Comments

Eating Well announced the winners of the 2018 American Food Heroes Awards and our very own Joann Lo and Jose Oliva were among the 12 award recipients.

“To select the winners, EatingWell solicited nominations from top experts, advocates and readers. A panel of editors reviewed the submissions and narrowed down the finalists to those who stood out for their focus, creativity, ongoing contributions and, in particular, the achievements they had made in the past year.

Past award winners include celebrity chef and activist José Andrés; Lindsey Shute, the executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition; Bob’s Red Mill founder Bob Moore; and Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich.”

Source –

Read about Joann and Jose, along with the other recipients on the Eating Well website.

Joann & Jose receive James Beard Foundation Leadership Award

By | News | No Comments

Congratulations to our co-directors Joann Lo & Jose Oliva! On Monday October 23, 2017, Joann and Jose received the James Beard Foundation’s 2017 Leadership Award at a special dinner in New York City.


In their acceptance speech, Jose said, “Joann and I are not accepting the award for ourselves but instead this is for our member organizations and the millions of food workers around the world. They include the hard-working women and men who put the food on your table tonight and every night.”


Joann and Jose’s special guest for the evening was Elias Rojas, a member of Brandworkers who was unjustly fired by Tom Cat Bakery earlier this year (more on the campaign here). At the dinner, Elias was able to talk to two famous chefs and ask for their help.


Joann said, “It’s because of workers like Elias that the Food Chain Workers Alliance was formed in 2009. Since then, we are proud that we have accomplished so much.”


FCWA friend and ally Anna Lappé of Real Food Media presented the award to Joann and Jose. Anna herself was one of last year’s Leadership Award recipients. She said in presenting the award, “They’ve helped people understand that if you care about food transformation– fixing the environmental and public health and animal welfare consequences of our current food system—caring about justice for workers is key.”


Click here to read about the other Leadership Award honorees. Watch Joann & Jose’s acceptance speech here!

Support Tom Cat Bakery Workers

By | News | No Comments

Following a Department of Homeland Security ICE probe, officials at Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City fired dozens of immigrant workers. The workers had spent years building the city’s oldest artisanal bakery into a successful business that supplies fresh bread throughout the city.

Over the past seven months, organized immigrant workers have defied both this vicious attack by ICE and Tom Cat Bakery’s tacit cooperation with these tactics. This resistance serves as an example to us all – immigrant workers and allies in the Trump era can fight back against a brutally racist system intending to rip apart families and communities. Despite numerous attempts to push Tom Cat Bakery to do the right thing, paying a just severance to dedicated workers impacted by ICE and adopting common sense policies protecting immigrant workers still on the job, the acclaimed artisanal bakery still refuses to hear workers’ demands for justice.

On October 12, 2017, the FCWA led a delegation of supporters to deliver a letter to Mr. Nobuhiro Iijima, president of Yamazaki Baking Co., which is the parent company of Tom Cat Bakery. Yamazaki is based in Japan, and we delivered the letter its Los Angeles headquarters, asking Mr. Iijima to intervene on behalf of the Tom Cat workers. Yamazaki also owns the brand Vie de France. The delegation included folks from DREAM Team LAUNITE HERE Local 11, and Warehouse Worker Resource Center.

Tom Cat Bakery workers demand:

1. A fair severance package that recognizes their years of hard work building Tom Cat into a successful business.

2. The adoption by Tom Cat of simple, widely-accepted best practices to protect workers against any future immigration clampdowns.

You can help these workers win justice today!

Brandworkers, the FCWA member group supporting the Tom Cat Bakery workers, has built a platform called Solid to help individuals and organizations build campaigns, connecting actions online and offline. Today you can:

  • Sign a petition.

  • Donate to the Tom Cat worker relief fund, and

  • Download a Community Solidarity Kit, with all the tools you need to coordinate your group’s Tom Cat customer actions!


Wherever you are, now is your chance to get involved! You can help workers win justice today!

Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry’s announce historic human rights agreement

By | News | No Comments

B&J’s is first company to join “Milk with Dignity” supply chain program

From our member group Migrant Justice: 

After years of negotiations and public campaigning, Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry’s have reached an historic supply chain agreement to advance worker’s rights by implementing the Milk with Dignity Program in the company’s northeast dairy supply chain.  The legally-binding contract is the first of its kind in the dairy industry.

Developed by Vermont dairy workers, Milk with Dignity is modeled after the internationally-renowned Fair Food Program that has transformed the Florida tomato industry.  The program provides dairy brands such as Ben & Jerry’s with the ability to make transformational changes in their supply chains, improving labor and housing conditions through a verifiable and worker-led model.

By joining the program, Ben & Jerry’s will pay participating farms a premium and require that farms uphold a farmworker-authored code of conduct to ensure fair and dignified work and housing conditions.  The premium provides workers with a bonus on each paycheck and serves to offset farmer’s costs of compliance with the Milk with Dignity Code of Conduct.  The farmworker-authored code sets new industry standards for wages, scheduling, health and safety, housing, and other workplace conditions. The program will be monitored and enforced by a newly created independent third party called the Milk with Dignity Standards Council (MDSC).

Good Food Purchasing Program Victory in Chicago

By | News | No Comments

Good Food Purchasing Passes Chicago City Council!

New measure will ensure transparency in food systems and generate millions in revenue for local farmers, food-based businesses and communities.

A New Day in the City of Broad Shoulders

Today, the City of Chicago became the first city outside of California to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy. The work to pass the ground-breaking resolution was lead by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council and a broad multi-sector coalition that included over 40 local and national organizations. Food Chain Workers Alliance worked closely with CFPAC on the ground and nationally. The policy will transform the way agencies purchase food and will work by promoting health and well-being to Chicagoans while creating a sustainable, socially responsible food system that has the potential of returning millions of dollars to local, food-based businesses and entrepreneurs.

Once implemented, the measure will impact a significant portion of nearly $200 million in spending toward local food businesses and farmers. The policy will prioritize nutrition, affordability, local economies, sustainable production practices, sound environmental practices, fair prices for producers, safe and fair working conditions for employees and food workers, and humane treatment of animals.

Read More