Daniel Gross

Founder and Executive Director

Key Topics: Alternative workplace organizing and organizing innovation, Workers’ rights, Food justice, Local food production and regional food systems, Food chain workers, Organizing with immigrant workers, Grassroots campaign strategy, Non-profit start-ups.

Bio: Daniel Gross is a nationally recognized workers’ rights organizer, attorney, and strategist. He is a leading proponent of workplace organizing innovations which position rank and file workers at the center of change efforts. While a barista at Starbucks, Daniel helped launch a groundbreaking union campaign that has grown across the country and features strategic innovations which have significantly impacted the broader labor movement.

His experience with insecure fast food employment and intense hostility to worker organizing propelled Daniel into law school to further explore alternative organizing models. Convinced that traditional methods of change were falling flat for workers, he started laying the groundwork for Brandworkers in his last year of law school to provide workers with a unique space to build and lead their own campaigns and develop as powerful social change leaders.

In the early days of Brandworkers, a friend asked Daniel to meet with a few immigrant workers from New York City’s local food production sector. Those workers opened his eyes to severe problems, and compelling opportunities for change, in a part of the food chain he had never paid attention to. Not long after, Brandworkers was fully committed to helping workers in the the City’s food factories join together for dignified jobs and a better food system for everyone. Since 2007, Brandworkers mostly immigrant members have won dramatic gains in wages and working conditions and recovered large sums of unlawfully held wages with worker-led campaigns that avoid the pitfalls of traditional labor organizing.

Daniel writes widely on alternative organizing approaches including Labor Law for the Rank & Filer: Build Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law and Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks, both co-authored with Staughton Lynd. He represented Brandworkers as a founding member organization of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and previously served on the National Lawyers Guild National Executive Committee.

Selected Speaking Experience

  • Labor on the Edge: Workers and The Globalizing Marketplace, New York University
  • Closing Speaker, Strategic Corporate Research Summer School, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Plenary: Organizing for Health and Dignity in the Food System, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders