Spring 2021 Highlights

Jun 18, 2021

NYC food factory workers are building power across their industry by organizing for dignified jobs. Read below for some of the highlights this spring—organizing at a new food factory, actions workers and allies took in the Tom Cat Bakery campaign for immigrant worker protections and Brandworkers’ transition to a new staff leader.

Brandworkers organizer, Esmi Huerta, leading workers through a strategy building exercise at this month’s workplace Organizing Committee meeting. Workers analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company they work for in order to develop effective campaigning tactics.

This spring, the newly formed Organizing Committee formed and is laying the groundwork for a successful campaign. Committee leaders are learning what issues their coworkers most want to change in their workplace—things like disrespect from management, discriminatory pay and scheduling, and unsafe conditions. With training from Brandworkers organizers, workers are tracking these issues, researching their employer, and developing a strategy to bring coworkers together to form a union.

This spring, a series of escalating actions brought workers closer to winning immigrant worker protections at Tom Cat Bakery.

On May Day, worker leaders in the campaign for immigrant worker protections at Tom Cat Bakery and allies rallied outside of Trader Joe’s in Union Square where Tom Cat Bread is sold to educate customers about Tom Cat’s collaboration with ICE.

Michelle Chen spoke with workers and covered the campaign in Dissent Magazine.

After participating in the coalition advocating for the historic New York state fund for workers excluded from Covid relief funds, Brandworkers is developing a program to ensure that food manufacturing workers are supported in applying. If you speak Spanish and would like to get involved with outreach for the next few months, we are seeking to find several volunteers to help make this possible.

Brandworkers is hiring a new Executive Director! The transition committee—three worker leaders from Brandworkers campaigns, two allies, and one staff member—have been working hard since early this year to identify the most important qualities and skills in the next Executive Director, interview the applicants and prepare for the transition.

Board member and worker leader from Brandworkers’ first campaign at Wild Edibles, Raymundo Lara Molina, shared his experience on the transition committee: “The process has been long in order to select the best executive director for Brandworkers. This is my first time participating in a process like this and I wanted to do it because I care about this organization.”