Building the infrastructure of the food worker movement

FCWA is building the infrastructure food workers need to organize effectively. We provide space for our member groups to share strategies, train worker leaders, and build solidarity across the food chain; we intervene in critical policy fights that impact food workers; and we bring worker demands into larger conversations about food justice.

FCWA WORKER LEADERSHIP & ORGANIZING SCHOOL

Worker solidarity and leadership is key to winning improvements in the workplace. Our Worker Leadership & Organizing School creates space for worker leaders to build these skills: sector-based worker cohorts that meet virtually for 4-6 months; regional “Justice in the Food Chain” training sessions for workers and organizers; and our annual Food Worker Summit. Through these opportunities, workers build their leadership and organizing skills, and share strategies with each other.

In 2021 we launched our Member Organizer Fellowship Program, an 8-month program supporting a small group of emerging organizers from FCWA member groups to develop organizing projects that are critical to our collective goals. Read more about our first cohort here.

SUPPORTING ORGANIZING ACROSS THE FOOD CHAIN

FCWA member groups are organizing with their membership bases to improve wages and working conditions and give workers a say in their workplace. FCWA staff play a critical role in amplifying and scaling up these member campaigns, by strategizing with members, creating communications materials, soliciting national and regional media coverage, and mobilizing support from a wide network of allies and the general public.

Food workers are inter-connected through the food supply chain, so we support our members to connect their organizing across sectors and increase their leverage. Our vision is for food workers to have the solidarity, research, and relationships they need to win campaigns and grow their power.

MOVEMENT BUILDING

Our member-led board of directors and movement-building committee help develop and guide FCWA’s overall strategic direction. We support internal movement-building with programming like our sector-based committees (currently active in the farmworker, restaurant, and warehouse sectors), which facilitate sharing strategies, building a collective vision, and taking action.

We can’t do this work alone. To achieve our vision of the future, we need to build broad and deep social movements. FCWA participates and plays leadership roles in a number of national formations and coalitions for labor rights, immigrant rights and sustainable food systems:

(co-founder)

MEMBER-LED POLICY INTERVENTIONS

FCWA strategically intervenes to center worker voices in policy efforts that impact our members, such as:

STATUS FOR ALL

Coordinating collective member campaign to oppose the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in favor of #StatusNow.

WORKER HEALTH & SAFETY

  • Supported members to lead campaigns and win the ground-breaking New York Health & Essential Rights (HERO) Act in May 2021, which created COVID-19 protections for all workers in New York State.
  • Coordinated nationwide actions to protest lack of OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard to protect all workers from COVID-19, in June 2021.
  • Supported members to participate in the creation of the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act (PAMWA), introduced in November 2021.

THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE

As laid out in our organizing platform, the right to organize our workplaces is fundamental and central to our vision. That includes the ability to exercise this right in fair and safe working conditions, without fear of harassment or retaliation by employers or the government.

GOOD FOOD COMMUNITIES

Food contracts are often awarded to larger food corporations or food service management companies, who perpetuate, and profit from, institutional racism, exploitation of frontline workers, and environmental degradation. Building on the successes that many local leaders have had in passing Good Food Purchasing Policies, members and allies have built the Good Food Communities campaign to explicitly push for our tax dollars to be invested in food supply chains that:

  1. provide a living wage to frontline workers,
  2. protect workers’ right to organize, and
  3. build supply chain transparency.

Our collective goal is to leverage values-based food purchasing at our public institutions to bolster food worker organizing and help build worker power. Read more about the campaign here.