REVIEW: ‘The Hand That Feeds’ a new American workers’ story

Mar. 26, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

“The Hand That Feeds” shows what solidarity can do when a small group of restaurant workers in New York City go from underdog to budding union members. The documentary film will screen April 5 during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in downtown Durham.

In an era when large unions are in danger and several states have laws that benefit management more than workers, “The Hand That Feeds” shows a new way of unionizing. It begins with a few undocumented workers at New York City’s Upper East Side small fast-food restaurant franchise Hot & Crusty. They want basic workers’ rights like minimum wage, overtime, a safe workplace and sick leave. Employees connect first with Laundry Workers Center and then the Occupy Wall Street movement as they gain support. It’s an uphill climb for the workers, who want better conditions but also don’t want to lose their jobs. Creating a union and keeping a union isn’t a simple task. “The Hand That Feeds” shows the ups and downs of the labor movement on a small scale in a giant city.
Audiences see the stress, the arguments, the times workers think about giving up. We see them at home, on the job and on the picket line, and we see how that changes them. We see how outside interests can help and hurt a cause. And we see, in modern-day New York City with modern-day immigrants, glimpses of what happened when new workers from a different country in a different century came to America and struggled to eke out the American Dream. “The Hand That Feeds” is a documentary that Americans need to see. Full Frame hosts the world premiere of this film. The screening will be followed by a discussion with filmmakers Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick.


WHAT: “The Hand That Feeds”
WHEN: 10:10 a.m. April 5, during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
WHERE: Cinema 3, Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St., Durham