No Somos Maquinas

Join Us!
Donate to the Food Chain Workers Alliance!

In August and September, we hosted three fun fundraiser events in New York City, in Chicago with Growing Power, and in Los Angeles with theRestaurant Opportunities Center of LA! And our members the Workers Justice Center of New York and the Pioneer Valley Workers Center also organized their own fundraiser for the Alliance earlier this year Thanks to all of you who attended one of our gatherings and to our sponsors, we raised close to $25,000!!

If you couldn’t attend one of those fundraisers, you can join us on Dec. 6, 2016, 6-8pm at 25 Louisiana Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Thanks to theInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters for hosting our D.C. fundraiser again this year! Buy your tickets here! Our goal this year is to raise $35,000 from fundraising events, so please help us reach that target! Thanks to member the International Labor Rights Forum for co-organizing this reception with us!

And if you can’t make the D.C. fundraiser, you can donate online at you so much for your support! We couldn’t do all that we do without you!.

Summer Night at the Farm

FCWA’s 7th Anniversary Harvest Moon Part

FCWA Co-Director in Billboard magazine
with Tom Morello!

      This week in Billboard magazine is an article featuring Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and his great work as an activist. Tom is one ofWhyHunger‘s Artists Against Hunger and Poverty. Tom is a long-time supporter of workers’ rights and has spoken out in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, OUR Walmart, and other FCWA member groups.

   WhyHunger is one of our close allies, as well as a fellow member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. so WhyHunger invited our co-director Joann Lo to be in a photo shoot and interview with Tom for this Billboard article!

Check out thepreview online and buy the Nov. 5 issue to see the full article!

Member Profile: Pioneer Valley Workers Center

By: Chelsea Gazillo, FCWA Intern

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts lies in the heart of the Pioneer Valley and is known for more than 100 restaurants providing good food, tasty libations, and live entertainment. These establishments generated over $7,675,500 worth of annual sales, according to a 2015 report released by thePioneer Valley Workers Center (PVWC), which is a member of the Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA).

The small charming city is also home to over 1,600 restaurant employees who contribute to the vitality of the town. It was a surprise for many residents when the night before Monday, May 23rd, owners of the Japanese restaurant Zen were told they would not be needed for their scheduled shifts the following day and the restaurant would be closed indefinitely. The restaurant provided jobs to 16 people, as well as supplying many of the staff with employee housing. In response, thePVWC immediately organized the workers, held a public action, and raised several thousand dollars to support the workers in the face of their sudden loss of wages. They also have helped several workers engage in a lawsuit to recover money stolen through previous wage theft and other violations.

Lin Geng was among these restaurant workers who lost their livelihoods. Geng, a long-time restaurant worker in Northampton, described the support of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center following the restaurant closure as having “…given me a sense of community and home.” He said thatPVWC immediately mobilized to support Zen employees. Many workers in Northampton, including the employees of Zen, are victims of wage theft. One of the PVWC’s main campaigns this year is to advocate against the numerous forms of this illegal activity.

Geng has become very involved in working with the PVWC to organize Northampton restaurant workers to pressure the City Council to pass a anti-wage theft ordinance, which would tie compliance with wage and hour laws to business licenses, protecting restaurant workers, regardless of their legal status. Geng reflected on the unfortunate reality that many restaurant workers have been victims of wage theft. “When we did the survey, most kitchen workers have experienced wage theft, their wages being stolen by the boss. So that is their biggest concern. We hope the workers can help to pass the bill, so our wages can be protected.”

PVWC does more than just advocate on behalf of restaurant workers in the Pioneer Valley. On July 15th, 2016, the Food Chain Workers Alliance joined forces with the PVWC in Northampton to host a panel that highlighted how advocates across the food chain could work together in solidarity. FCWA’sDiana Robinson moderated as a panel of five food chain workers and advocates discussed how they could support one another in the fight for food justice. Panelists included Alex Zwicker Galimberti, the National Director of the RAISE program with ROC; Neftalí Duran, a Oaxacan Chef and the Project Director of the Nuestra Comida Initiative in Holyoke, MA; Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms; Rosendo, a farm worker atNext Barn Over; and Talib Toussaint, the Food Justice and Community Outreach Manager for Gardening The Community. The panel discussed how different food movement advocates could work together and support one another in their fight for racial, economic and social justice.

Gabriella della Croce, Development Coordinator and Community Organizer for PVWC, said that panelists addressed how important it is for others to show up and support each other’s events, especially in light of the racial inequalities and police brutality in the United States. Additionally, the panelists supported one another in their quest for economic justice. It became apparent during the discussion that what each organization does within the food system (e.g. advocating for workers rights, GMO labeling, supporting local agriculture and sustainable practices) was less important than their common underlying principles. Each organization is able to provide support to the others in working towards the goal of unifying the food movement. Often this support comes in the form of ‘showing up’ or being present at each other’s events.

Finally, Diana described some of the biggest takeaways from the panel as “how vulnerable and honest the speakers were about race in our food system. They offered participants concrete and practical ways of being allies and supporting racial justice in our food system. It was very powerful and exciting to see how receptive the audience was.”

Many audience members were eager to know how they could support the advocates on the panel. In response, the Pioneer Valley Workers Center suggested joining local initiatives, such as their FAST (Food Action Solidarity Team) which focuses on worker organizing and other efforts such as supporting the boycott of Driscoll Berries, which has been alleged to abuse workers by paying them less than minimum wage and providing inhumane working conditions.

International Food Workers Week

Save the Dates:
November 13-19, 2016

International Food Workers Week (IFWW) is held annually close to the week of Thanksgiving to engage the public about the importance of food workers and to move people to take action in support of the workers. Events or actions around the U.S. are organized by the FCWA, member groups, and allies.

During IFWW, on November 14, we are releasing a new report No Piece of the Pie: U.S. Food Workers in 2016. This update from our original report The Hands That Feed Us in 2012 will provide the most recent data on food workers and their wages and working conditions, highlights interviews with 20 workers throughout the food system, and shares solutions to addressing the problems they face.

Organize an event or action in your city! You can submit your event info here. Stay tuned for a list of actions and events taking place that week.

Brandworkers to Honor FCWA

We’re thrilled to announce that Brandworkers, a founding member of the Food Chain Workers Alliance that works towards a sustainable food system and good jobs for food processing workers in New York City, has chosen to honor our very own co-directer of the Alliance, Joann Lo, along with Outten & Golden LLP, a law firm that advocates for workplace fairness, as this year’s Champions of Economic Justice.

Here’s what Brandworkers had to say about Joann and why they’re giving her this award: Joann Lo is Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a groundbreaking coalition of worker-based organizations whose members harvest, process, transport, cook, serve, and sell food. Joann’s commitment to putting good jobs and racial justice at the center of the conversation makes her an essential voice in the national movement for a sustainable food system.

Be sure to attend their biggest night of the year on November 16, 2016 atAngel Orensaz Foundation for Contemporary Art in New York.

GFPP Coalition Exchange

Good Food Purchasing Campaigns are happening in a numbers of cities across the country—all in different phases of the work.  On October 14th, the Food Chain Workers Alliance hosted a one-day GFPP Coalition Exchange in Chicago where leaders from a variety of campaigns convened for the first time together.  The intention was to provide a space for co-learning among peers, share hands-on advice and expertise, and engage leaders in the multi-city facet of this work. It was an honor and a pleasure to connect with all the campaigns in person.

Many thanks to our coalition partners for sharing their experiences, passion, and time with us in Chicago:  ASPCAAustin Independent School DistrictCenter for Good
Food Purchasing
Chicago Food Policy Action CouncilCincinnati
Interfaith Workers Center,
 Community Food AdvocatesHomeGrown MinneapolisHOPE CollaborativeInternational Brotherhood of TeamstersLand
Stewardship Project
, and Oakland Food Policy Council.

We’re all looking enthusiastically toward Oakland where their school board will be voting November 9th on GFPP adoption. Check out this article on the great work of Oakland Unified’s food services program to date and their excitement for using GFPP to do even more!

To learn more about the campaigns that are growing in each city, go to

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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