The Food Chain Workers Alliance Improves Working Conditions Along the Food Chain

by Justin Taylor

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Food Chain Workers Alliance

What they do: The Food Chain Workers Alliance is a coalition of worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve and sell food. The Alliance works to improve the wages and working conditions of workers along the food chain. Currently, FCWA has 31 members representing roughly 340,000 food workers in the US and Canada.

How they do it: The Food Chain Alliance focuses on three areas of work in order to improve the lives and communities of food system workers and their families and advance the movement for a more sustainable food system. Each member organization participates in at least one of the following program committees:

  1. Growth & Learning: This committee plans the FCWA’s annual worker leaders summit as well as the regional Justice in the Food Chain training series, and develops other ways that FCWA members can learn from each other.
  1. Campaigns & Messages: This committee helps to build public support for members’ organizing campaigns and the principal campaign of the Alliance, which is focused on the Good Food Purchasing Program. The committee also develops messages, materials, and social media tools to support those campaigns.
  1. Movement Building: The Alliance has co-founded and plays leadership roles in a number of national movements.

Mission: “The Food Chain Workers Alliance works together to build a more sustainable food system that respects workers’ rights, based on the principles of social, environmental and racial justice, in which everyone has access to healthy and affordable food.”

Latest project/campaign: The Food Chain Workers Alliance is expanding its worker leadership development training called Justice in the Food Chain to add a Level 2 session and to train food workers and organizers to lead these trainings in their own communities. The Justice in the Food Chain trainings share concrete skills in organizing, coalition-building, developing a message, and campaign strategy development.

Major Funding: Food and Farm Communications Fund, Ford Foundation, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Lawson Valentine Foundation, LIFT Fund, Solidago Foundation, Norman Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $780,000

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is nationally regarded as the most comprehensive and metric-based food procurement policy in the country. Through the program, institutions work with food service providers, distributors, processors and growers to create a transparent ‘farm-to-fork’ food supply. The Alliance encourages local coalitions around the country to advocate for the adoption of this program in order to bring more good food to low-income communities and support the strengthening of regional Good Food systems.

FACT SHEET:

Primary Location:

3055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 300

Los Angeles, CA 90010

Other Locations:

UNITE HERE

275 7th Avenue

New York, NY 10001

77 W. Washington St. Suite 1508

Chicago, IL 06002

Core Programs:

Worker solidarity and leadership among workers all along the food chain.

The HEAL (Health Environment Agriculture and Labor) Alliance, which seeks effective policy change and the development of local leadership in the national food system, from the corner store to Capitol Hill.

Supporting food workers’ organizing campaigns to improve their jobs and working conditions.

Good Food Purchasing Program.

Number of staff: 6

Number of volunteers: 5 interns

Areas served: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, New York State, National

Year Started: 2009

Director: Co-directors: Joann Lo & Jose Oliva

Contact Information:

[email protected]

(213) 761-8893 (office)

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