Food and Labor: Forging a Truly Sustainable Food Policy Agenda for California in 2015, Oct 1

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

In June 2014, the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center released “Shelved: How Wages and Working Conditions for California's Food Retail Workers Have Declined as the Industry Has Thrived.” describing how, in the last 20 years, this dramatic decline in California’s grocery stores resulted in high rates of poverty and food insecurity among the very workers who sell us food.

During the same 20 years, consumer demand for locally sourced, organic, sustainable cuisine has changed products in
even the unlikeliest companies, including Walmart, but stopped short of passing CA legislation such as GMO labeling and soda taxes. While the labor movement won some real policy victories for food workers in the California state legislature– most recently, a minimum wage hike and paid sick days – they have been unable to achieve the same kind of market change in companies like Walmart, where the food movement has been successful.

The food and labor movements in California could benefit greatly from developing a joint policy agenda that works toward a truly sustainable food system. This panel will bring together food movement leaders, labor leaders, and legislators to examine the findings of “Shelved” and discuss what this joint policy agenda for 2015 could look like.

CA Legislators
Chris Benner, UC Davis
James Araby, UFCW Western States Council
Michael Dimock, Roots of Change

MODERATOR: Saru Jayaraman, UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and Goldman School of Public Policy.