On May 8th the Domestic Fair Trade Association accompanied members of Familias Unidas por La Justicia, Community to Community Development and Fair World Project to a meeting at Driscoll’s headquarters in Watsonville, CA. The meeting was called in response to the delivery of a Fair World Project petition containing over 10,000 signatures calling on Driscoll’s to stop sourcing from Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm until the labor dispute there ended in a union contract with Familias Unidas por La Justicia. Prior to the meeting, members of Driscoll’s executive team also received an organizational sign on letter from over 50 food co-ops, civil society organizations, unions, and food justice organizations deeply concerned about labor issues in Driscoll’s supply chain in WA state and beyond.
The meeting was an opportunity for farm workers from WA state to share with Driscoll’s their experience of wage theft, racial discrimination, poor housing, and retaliation for organizing at the hand of Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm, which has a 20 year relationship supplying berries to Driscoll’s. During the meeting Driscoll’s also shared with those in attendance information about their business structure and company values, including respect for freedom of association. One of the main issues brought up by the farm workers was concern that members of the farm worker union, Familias Unidas por La Justica, may not be hired back at Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm this season in retaliation for their participation in previous year’s strikes.
Familias Unidas por La Justicia is calling upon allies to help ensure the workers are rehired and that Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm’s new CEO, Danny Weeden, comes to the negotiating table in good faith. Read the May 18th letter FUJ sent to Sakuma Bros. Berry Farms new CEO here.
Contact Sakuma Bros. Berry CEO Danny Weeden
- Ask him to rehire the members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, including the leaders fired last year: Ramon Torres, Federico Lopez, Cornelio Ramires and Patricio Santiago when the strawberry season starts in June.
- Ask that he meet with the union’s president, Ramon Torres, to schedule a negotiation for a fair union contract.
As Driscoll’s enters into a piloting process for revising their own labor standards, slated for a global roll out in 2016, advocates of domestic fair trade must take this opportunity to educate Driscoll’s about the principles of our movement.