Janice Chua’s COVID-19 Organizing Fundraiser for Brandworkers
Back food factory workers organizing for survival and long term power
Specialty food manufacturing workers are risking their lives to keep food in supply during the coronavirus pandemic. Workers need your solidarity to protect themselves now and to build power that lasts long after the crisis.
Since shelter-in-place, I’ve been able to stay home, do my best to work from home while taking care of a toddler, and spending a lot of time with my family. Of course, it’s been difficult, and scary and tiring at times, but I am thankful that we are able to focus on staying home, staying healthy, and staying safe. For food and supplies, I’ve been going to our local supermarkets that continue to be staffed and stocked with everything from fresh bread, produce and meat. Once in a while, to take a break from cooking, we go to local restaurants for takeout, or call for delivery. More than ever, we are aware of how “essential” our food workers are. Food workers who serve, deliver, distribute, process, and harvest our food. Workers who are risking their lives to ensure that our community – the frontline healthcare providers, teachers, and childcare providers – and each and every one of us has enough to eat. These are the same workers who were told that they didn’t deserve to make $15 per hour, because they were “low-“ or “unskilled.”
Every spring, I raise funds for a nonprofit that I believe in – Brandworkers. Brandworkers is a membership organization that enables worker-led organizing efforts for workplace safety, fair wages, and dignity at work. These days, a lot of us are donating what we can to hospitals, food pantries, and within our communities’ mutual aid funds. These are crucial causes that we must continue to support. But worker organizing is more crucial than over. For example, without Brandworkers’ years of organizing and fighting at Tom Cat Bakery, the workers at Tom Cat would likely have been exploited and ignored. When COVID-19 first struck, Tom Cat failed to provide appropriate PPE, implement social distancing at the worksite, or protect undocumented workers against an overly active ICE involvement at the factory. Workers were at risk of being sent home without pay when the factory had decided to shut down. Thankfully, because of the years of workplace rights organizing at Tom Cat, the workers will continue to be paid during the factory shut-down.
No amount is too little. All of your donations will go directly to strengthening efforts for workers to fight and assert their rights at the workplace, and building power and solidarity that would last long after the pandemic.
Together, we will protect food workers on the frontlines while building power that endures for years to come.
Our gifts will help Brandworkers gather funds from 500 community members by May 1st. Visit Brandworkers.org/MayDay to see our progress and sign up to help.