Food Chain Workers Fighting for Fairness

Feb 8th, 2013 | By | Category: Food Justice Blog Posts, Uncategorized

The Community Alliance for Global Justice endorsed two recent campaigns after hearing from the community, supporting organizing for fair wage and compensation for food industry workers. Two local campaigns and one national campaign are all gaining steam. One has to wonder if the OUR Walmart and Making Change at Wal-Mart campaigns, which CAGJ’s Food Justice Project is supporting through a solidarity campaign, are having a ripple effect!

Nationally, the Food Chain Workers Alliance reached out for support from food justice leaders and organizations to sign on to a letter addressed to Rep. George Miller, asking him to re-introduce the Fair Minimum Wage Act. This act would increase the regular minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $9.80 over three years and the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 up to 70% of the full minimum wage. Rep. Miller introduced this legislation last year, but needs to see continued and growing support to introduce it again in 2013.

Add your name to encourage Congress not to let food workers go hungry by February 12 and join other signers in making your voice heard to increase the minimum wage for food workers.

Read more about the issues facing food workers and the impact a minimum wage increase would have on livelihoods in Food Chain Workers Alliance’s report, “Dime a Day: The Impact of the Miller/Harkin Minimum Wage Proposal on the Price of Food

In Auburn and throughout Seattle, there’s been lots of organizing around the United Natural Foods, Inc. layoff of 72 workers in Auburn. The subsequent strike by Teamsters Local 117 led many local and sustainable food grocers such as PCC Natural Markets and Central Co-op, who source some staples and products from UNFI, to release statements addressing the issue. Central Co-op opted to not purchase or accept any UNFI shipments while the strike was ongoing, and encouraged co-op members to support the workers and donate to the hardship fund. CAGJ signed onto a petition asking UNFI and Whole Foods to:

  • STOP promoting food conglomerates at the expense of small and local producers.
  • STOP undermining the organic standard in favor of the vague “natural foods” tag.
  • STOP putting profits over protections for working families.

Organized Workers in Labor Solidarity organized a boycott and picket of local Whole Foods stores, also a big customer of UNFI. CAGJ endorsed this action as well.

Just yesterday, on Thurs. Feb. 7 the Teamsters declared victory! Workers ratified a fully recommended 5 year contract, including reinstatement of all 72 laid off workers, health and welfare protections, and meaningful wage increases.
Read the full statement from the union and workers at Teamsters117.org or the petition website, UNFI: Driven By Greed

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