The Food Chain Workers Alliance is a coalition of worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, organizing to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain. Currently, FCWA has 34 members representing over 375,000 food workers in the US and Canada.
We believe in a truly sustainable food system that uplifts workers, communities, and our shared environment; and provides healthy and locally made food for all. A food system that is democratically controlled by communities will produce food that everyone needs to lead productive lives. When more food enterprises are cooperatively owned, vibrant and sustainable local economies will thrive. Taken together, this will lead to jobs that have dignity, livable wages, and meaning for workers; and will create a food system that works for all. We can create this food system only through worker organization and solidarity led by women, people of color, immigrants, and other frontline workers.
Our food system should:
- Respect the skills and labor of all food workers, and allow workers to share equitably in the wealth of the food economy.
- Guarantee livable wages and the right to organize, free from intimidation and harassment.
- Be democratically controlled by the communities it impacts and driven by the workers that create the food.
- Have more cooperative ownership, less private ownership.
- Provide local, healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food that is beneficial to both people and the environment.
In the late 2000’s, a new national interest in food systems emerged, but many organizations representing workers across the food chain struggled to integrate their work into this burgeoning conversation.
In May 2008, after an initial suggestion from the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United), eight food worker organizations convened at the Labor Notes Conference in Detroit to get to know each other, share their work, and explore potential collaborations. These groups—which included ROC United, el Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas, and the International Labor Rights Forum—collectively decided that they did indeed want to work together and combine their high-stakes campaign experience, membership bases, and particular piece of the food chain to build real power for all food workers.
Continued communications among this core group demonstrated the incredible power that food workers could assert through a coalition of organizers with members across the food supply chain.
In July 2009, nine food worker organizations launched the Food Chain Workers Alliance. to build power in the food industry from farm to plate. The Alliance was formed for two principal reasons. First, to bring worker voices into the growing food movement by collaborating with food and food justice organizations. Second, to fight back against increasing corporate consolidation of food companies by supporting food workers to join together to challenge corporations and win power in their workplaces and communities.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance thanks graphic artist Jennifer Chiu for creating our logo and to Student/Farmworker Alliance former organizer Meghan Cohorst for putting the final touches on it! Check out Jen’s websites: www.jenniferpchiu.com, www.motionsicknessfx.com!