Joann is so proud to be part of this organization that is supporting innovative organizing campaigns and policy initiatives that are improving jobs for low-wage food workers and that is changing the national discussion around a sustainable food system so more and more people now include good jobs as part of what a sustainable food should be. Please consider donating at least $40 for her 40th birthday (more or less is much appreciated, too!) and help her reach her goal! In the above photo, she is at a rally with her husband and her daughter. Thank you for your help!
*Food Chain Avengers: A Food Justice & Worker Justice Comic Book*
20 million people work in the food system in the U.S., joining millions around the world who labor on farms and in meat, poultry and food processing facilities, warehouses, grocery stores and restaurants. The food system is the largest employer in the U.S. and the majority of frontline food workers earn poverty wages. In the U.S., a third of food workers suffer from food insecurity and hunger.
The members of the Alliance decided to create a comic book focused on food workers in order to illustrate the issues facing these workers, as well as their efforts to organize to improve their workplaces, their communities, and the food system. Luis DeLeon, a restaurant worker and member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, volunteered to write the backstory for the comic book. He created five characters, each representing one of the five main sectors of the food system, and he called them the Food Chain Avengers.
The Food Chain Avengers comic book uses examples drawn from real experiences by workers in their respective industries, the five main characters of the story walk us through each of five sectors of the food chain: production, processing, distribution, retail, and food service. The comic book exposes the exploitative nature of the industry Vis-à-vis its workers, communities, and the environment. in addition, it tells the story of struggle to victory.
Food Chain Avengers is illustrated and written by artist Jerel Dye. Jerel is an Artist, illustrator, and designer based in Massachusetts. While in high school he worked as a pizza chef. You can learn more about Jerel’s work at https://jereldye.com/blog/.
You can order copies in English and/or Spanish using the form below. You can also download a PDF of comic book in color in Spanish, English, and Chinese. We have also developed discussion guides with suggested homework assignments for middle school students (Spanish here) and high school students (Spanish here)that list the Common Core English Language Arts Standards that the comic book and discussion guides address. We also have a discussion guide for adults (Spanish here).
Join us in welcoming our new member OUR Walmart!
We are happy to share that OUR Walmart is now a member of Food Chain Workers Alliance. OUR Walmart works to ensure that every Associate, regardless of his or her title, age, race, or sex, is respected at Walmart. They join together to offer strength and support in addressing the challenges that arise in their stores and the company everyday. They envision a future in which the company treats the Associates of Walmart, with respect and dignity. They envision a world where they can succeed in their careers, the company succeeds in business, customers receive great service and value, and Walmart and Associates share all of these goals.
We are proud to have this courageous group of workers join the Alliance with others workers across the food chain.
Learn more about their campaign and how you can get involved here.
This year’s Food Day theme is food justice, including justice for farm and foodworkers! So join us and our member organizations in planning local events and actions in your area: info [at] foodchainworkers.org.
Read below for the official Food Day media release!
Thousands of Events from Coast to Coast Planned for October 24
August 6, 2014
Justice throughout the food chain—from farm workers to child consumers—will be a special focus for the fourth annual Food Day, as will increasing Americans’ access to healthful food. Culminating on October 24,Food Day is an event that organizers hope will inspire many Americans to improve their own diets and work toward solving food-related problems at the local, state, and national level. Started by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and other food leaders in 2011,Food Day quickly grew to 5,000 events from coast to coast last year alone.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of 23 organizations that represent over 280,000 workers that farm, produce, pack, transport, cook, serve, and sell foodwill be using Food Day to bring awareness to consumers about food justice. The Alliance will join Food Day and CSPI in Washington, D.C., on October 24 for a panel focused on justice and equity for farm and food workers as well as farmers. At the event, the Alliance will also announce the winner of its competition for the most creative message to explain why raising the minimum wage is important to food workers. Alliance member organizations around the country will also hold events and actions on Food Day to build awareness about injustices done to workers in the food chain.
“For us, Food Day is a great opportunity to show the connections between the challenges facing workers in the foodsystem, public health, the environment, and access to healthy food,” said Joann Lo, executive director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. “We know that by working together with others who care about these multitudes of issues, we can transform the system into one that is just and healthy for all.”
Organizers of Food Day have adopted “RealFood, Just Food” as the slogan for 2014.
“Food justice goes beyond improving working conditions for farm and restaurant workers. The issue of justice even extends to children, who are bombarded with advertising for highly processed junk foods,” said Michael Jacobson, CSPI executive director and FoodDay founder.
Other Food Day events aim to bring families together to enjoy sustainable food. In the nation’s capital, the National Geographic Museum will host a Harvest Festival on October 25, featuring hands-on, family-
For the fourth year in a row, organizers of the Well FED Savannah Food Day Festival will draw thousands of Georgians to an outdoor celebration of locally grown food, heritage, healthy eating, and sustainability. In 2013, some 15,000 people attended the free public festival, which features live music, exhibitors, vendors, and dozens of free workshops.
Some food companies are participating inFood Day also. In October, Bon Appétit Management Company will roll out a sugar-awareness campaign companywide at hundreds of corporate and university locations in 32 states. Through visual displays, taste tests, and handouts, they aim to show where added sweeteners hide in everyday foods.
Across the country, conferences, summits, and other events devoted to mobilizing support for improved food policies are being organized. The Tulsa Food Security Coalition will host a 2014 Food Access Summit in celebration of Food Day. The San Antonio Food Policy Conference will take place on October 24 and continue for a second day of field trips of October 25.
In Berkeley, Calif., organizers will use FoodDay to mobilize in support of a November ballot question asking for the adoption of a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar drinks sold in the city. The idea is to use the tax revenues to restore funding to school and community nutrition education programs, including Farm Fresh Choice and Berkeley’s celebrated school garden and cooking programs.
In Detroit, Michigan, the Fair Food Network, the Detroit Lions, Eastern Market Corporation, and other organizations will convene on at Detroit’s famed Eastern Market and celebrate Food Day with a morning teaching about fresh, healthy eating and supporting area farmers, while elevating resources like Fair Food Network’s statewide healthy food incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks. Lions executive chef, Joe Nader, will be on-hand with lunch and a cooking demonstration using seasonal fresh produce purchased directly from Eastern Market farmers.
Health Care Without Harm is encouraging health care facilities nationwide to celebrateFood Day by serving meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics. By signing up on Health Care Without Harm’s website, hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can show their commitment to building a healthy and sustainable foodsystem.
Food Chains, the documentary film on the grassroots movement to support farmworker rights produced by Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, will be joining Food Day as well. The film will be galvanizing its campaign partners around an online day of action to support the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which ensures safe working conditions and basic human rights for Florida’s tomato pickers. Food Chains opens nationwide on November 21.
“Most Americans want to have healthier diets, and Food Day is a great opportunity to break a bad habit or to start new, healthy habits with their own diets,” said Lilia Smelkova, Food Day national coordinator. “At thousands of Food Day events, in the news, and on social media we want to connect the dots between the food on people’s plates and their health, the environment, and the lives of the people who produce it.
Today,Food Chain Workers Alliance along with Alliance member ROC-NY and Food First released a new report,Food Insecurity of Restaurant Workers, a first comprehensive look at food security and employment conditions of workers in the restaurant industry.
The report, based on over 280 surveys and interviews with restaurant workers in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, highlights the crucial ways in which restaurant workers’ employment conditions affect their ability to feed themselves.
- An astonishing 41% of NYC restaurant workers surveyed were food insecure
- 67% of undocumented restaurant workers surveyed were food insecure
- Tipped workers in NYC were 30% more likely to be food insecure than their non-tipped counterparts.
While NY’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9 by 2016, tipped workers in New York earn a sub-minimum wage of just $5 per hour. NY Governor Cuomo has the ability to raise tipped workers’ base pay administratively through a Department of Labor Wage Board.
Citing high rates of food insecurity among tipped restaurant workers, ROC-NY, FCWA, and allies are calling for an elimination of the sub-minimum wage through the Wage Board process.
TAKE ACTION. Support New York’s tipped workers by tweeting at Governor Cuomo. Urge him to appoint a wage board that will listen to the needs of NY’s tipped workers by eliminating the sub-minimum wage and ensureing #1FairWage in New York. Here are sample tweets:
- I join @ROC_NY in calling on @NYGovCuomo to convene a WageBoard that will eliminate the sub #minwage & guarantee #1FairWage in #NY
- New Study: tipped restaurant workers face high rates of #foodinsecurity. I call on @NYGovCuomo to ensure #1FairWage in #NY
Download the report here.
Walmart: Home of Low Wages
A statement on the Walmart Economy
Across the country, Wal-Mart workers have been raising their voices calling on the world’s largest private employer to publicly commit to end illegal retaliation against workers and to provide better jobs and better working conditions. As the country’s largest employer of women, with $16 billion in annual profits, Wal-Mart could single-handedly turn the lives of women workers around, and in turn, have a huge impact on jobs for women workers nationwide.
But to date they have chosen to suppress workers’ voices and pay wages so low that many are forced to rely on taxpayer assistance to survive. This should not be happening in America and we can do something about it!
We stand in solidarity with Wal-Mart workers as they go on strike on June 4, and we support their call on Wal-Mart to end their illegal attempts to silence its employees.
Signed by the Food Chain Workers Alliance
Individually signed by the following organizations:
Brooklyn Food Coalition
California Institute for Rural Studies
CATA — Farmworker Support Committee
Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center
Coalition of Imokalee Workers
Community Food and Justice Coalition
Communication Workers Union UK
Fair World Project
Farmworker Association of Florida
Food Empowerment Project
Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
Handmade & more
International Labor Rights Forum
INTUC, KHammam Disrtrict Branch
Just Harvest USA
Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights
National Family Farm Coalition
Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center
Organic Consumers Association
Peter Cares House
Rainbuffalo Records & Talent Agency
Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Rural and Migrant Ministries
Rural Community Workers Alliance
San Diego Hunger Coalition
Street Vendors Project
Teamsters Joint Council No. 7
UE Research & Education Fund
UE Western Region
verdi Wiesbaden Trade Union
Warehouse Workers Resource Center
Warehouse Workers for Justice
West Valley Neighborhoods Coalition
Erskin Taylor iii
MARCE L LIBERGE
Ross S. Heckmann
E Ingrid Anderson
Martha W D Bushnell
Rita Anne Petruccelli
Jose de Arteaga
Jose de Arteaga
Meg Smeltzer Miller
M. Jahi Chappell
Ava Tomasula y Garcia
Stephen J. Oder
Rabbi Suzanne Singer