Founded in Queens, NY in 2007, Brandworkers is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting local food factory workers with the training, infrastructure, and community to build unions for dignified jobs and power in society.
Our vision is a food system where food factory workers set standards for dignified working conditions and democratically operate the industry through direct action, solidarity, and worker-led unions.
With the IWW as our union partner, Brandworkers trains workers to build their own worker-led-and-operated solidarity unions.
Brandworkers is growing to additionally support workers in North Jersey food factories to build power and raise standards across the metropolitan food manufacturing industry.
Board of Directors
Anne Clark, Board Chair
Partner, Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C.
Food Factory Delivery Driver; Former Tom Cat Bakery Campaign Leader
Raymundo Lara Molina, Brandworkers Member
Construction Worker; Former Food Manufacturing Worker, Wild Edibles Campaign Leader
Elías Rojas, Brandworkers Member
Catering Worker; Former Tom Cat Bakery I-9 Audit Protection Campaign Leader
Steve Wong, Brandworkers Ally
Restaurant Co-Founder, Oxalis; Impact Investment Consultant, The Working World
Brandworkers Underground Campaign Leader (name protected)
18-year veteran food manufacturing worker
Cody Eaton, Labor Organizer, NYC
Cody provides training and coaching to NYC workers in the local food manufacturing industry interested in organizing their own unions. He began organizing with the support of Amazonians United NYC while working for a year and a half at an Amazon warehouse and learning that his coworkers had a lot of the same concerns as him. When workers there saw that speaking up one by one didn’t change anything, they started a petition around Covid-19 safety and hazard pay, got 120 coworkers to sign on and marched together with a megaphone to demand better treatment from management. Prior to Amazon, Cody worked as a Field Research Fellow for the American Voices Project (AVP) at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, where he conducted in-depth interviews to develop a more personal research survey of working-class life in the U.S.
Christa Tandana, Resource Mobilization Coordinator and Operations Manager
Christa has spent over a decade connecting people with resources and amplifying stories through design and photography in the nonprofit, corporate, and food industries. She first joined Brandworkers in 2017 to coordinate our 10th Anniversary Awards Dinner and redesign our website. Having grown up in Flushing in an immigrant family and witnessed how the food industry depends on exploitation as a food worker herself, Christa was excited to return to Brandworkers in 2022 as our Resource Mobilization Coordinator and Operations Manager.
Emith Escobar, Campaigner
Emith joined Brandworkers in 2021, assisting workers in applying for the Excluded Workers Fund. He is currently working toward his BA in Political Science at Hunter College with a minor in film. Growing up in Elmhurst to a Mexican immigrant family exposed him to the hardships of the food industry and the exploitation of his community, which inspired him to join the labor movement. Emith’s focus at Brandworkers is expanding its communication and social media network, recruiting volunteers, and cultivating ties with other community organizations. In his free time, Emith enjoys spending time with his Bernadoodle (Ozzy), watching films, and hiking.
Gabriel Morales, Executive Director
Gabriel joined the Brandworkers staff in 2016 and served as Program Director for five years. He transitioned into his new role as Brandworkers Executive Director in September 2021. Gabriel is an experienced leader with a strong background in worker organizing and a clear dedication, vision, and operational plan to work towards our mission. As Brandworkers’ Program Director, Gabriel’s position focused on developing and implementing Brandworkers’ overall organizing strategy. Prior to Brandworkers, he was a rank-and-file hotel worker and worked on campaigns with CWA, SEIU, and UNITE Here. Gabriel has also coordinated, trained, and recruited dozens of new rank-and-file and staff organizers across the country in a variety of different industries.
Joe Seider, New Organizing Coordinator
Joe entered his journey in labor organizing as a volunteer with the Northern New Jersey branch of the Industrial Workers of the World in 2018. After learning about the struggles facing food factory workers in NYC, Joe enrolled in Brandworkers’ Organizing Apprentice program and assisted day to day with a bakery campaign in New Jersey during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Entering as a staff member in 2022, Joe is dedicated to expanding Brandworkers’ vision of supporting worker lead organizing in New Jersey’s specialty food manufacturing industry, as well as expanding upon Brandworkers’ Organizing Apprentice program.
Noelani (Lani) Defiesta, Director of Resource Mobilization and Development
Lani Defiesta joined Brandworkers as a Development Coordinator in 2021 and recently transitioned into their new role as the Director of Resource Mobilization and Development in 2022. They come to Brandworkers with previous leadership, worker organizing and resource mobilization experience. Their position primarily focuses on building relationships with partner organizations & individuals, and training & coaching the Board of Directors, staff, worker-leaders, and allies to systematically build relationships and mobilize the resources needed to advance Brandworkers’ mission. And as a queer non-binary person of color in a predominantly white sector, their commitment to centering racial and economic justice, and LGBTQIA+ and disability rights in their work is personal and crucial to advancing Brandworkers’ mission.
Rose Weiss, Lead Campaigner
Rose Weiss joined Brandworkers as a research volunteer in 2017 after seventeen years cooking in the restaurant industry. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, (now the International Culinary Center) and UMass, Amherst, Rose honed her craft in fine-dining restaurant kitchens in Massachusetts, DC, New York, Stockholm, and Spain. As Campaign Coordinator for 3 years at Brandworkers and now as Lead Campaigner since 2021, Rose’s role is to support food factory workers to win their campaigns. Rose brings organizing experience as a worker member of Restaurant Opportunities Center – NY, a commitment to food justice from her education in Farm School NYC, plus learnings from her first hand experience of gendered, racialized exploitation in the food and restaurant industry.
Operations & Financials