No matter whether they work in Washington State, California, or Mexico, blueberry pickers perform exhausting work. At Sakuma Farms in Washington State, indigenous farmworkers from Oaxaca must pick forty pounds of blueberries to earn $10 per hour. The company website says workers can make up to $40 a day, but that's only if they pick 100 pounds. 

 

Felimon Piñeda and his family lived in a Sakuma camp for laborers. One worker said, “We were upset about the conditions in the camp. The mattress they gave us was torn and dirty, and the wire was coming out. There were cockroaches and rats. The roof leaked when it rained. They just put bags in the holes and it still leaked. All my children’s clothes were wet.” 

 

In the summer of 2013, Sakuma workers went on strike and organized an independent union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia. During the strike, union president Ramón Torres met every night with the workers to report on negotiations and plan strategy. (L) Sakuma tried to bring in hundreds of guest workers under the H2-A visa program to replace the strikers. Striker Jose Galicia delivered petitions to the Department of Labor office in San Francisco to save Sakuma workers’ jobs. (R) 

 

Sakuma Farms sells its berries through Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry distributor. Joined by supporters along the Pacific Coast, workers are marching and have called for a "border to border" boycott until their union is recognized. (L) In the spring of 2015, berry pickers in northern Mexico went on strike to demand higher wages. Driscoll’s also sells the berries they pick, and they joined the boycott. They traveled in buses to the U.S. border to demand a union contract in Mexico, too. (R)

Section: 

Comments

The information in this article is a year old, what has happened since spring 2015? I haven't been able to find any more recent information.
i stop buying them years ago when i found the amount of pesticides they use... any benefit the fruit will give is null by the charge of glyphosate or chemicals they spray on the berries... now i only buy organic ones
I too would like updates on this issue. But even another year later, Driscolls has still not sat down with the San Quintin union!
Hello from the road! Familias Unidas por la Justicia is half way through their West Coast tour having made stops in 10 cities in Oregon and California! At each stop union president Ramon Torres and union member Lazaro Matamora have called for local boycott committees to continue the boycott of Driscoll's berries at Costco and Whole Foods until union contracts are signed by Familias Unidas por la Justicia in WA and El Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democrático de Jornaleros Agricolas in Mexico. Until then BOYCOTT DRISCOLLS!! On March 31st FUJ is taking the fight directly to the corporate bosses of Driscolls! FUJ and surrounding Boycott Committees will be at Driscolls headquarters in Watsonville, CA demanding that Driscolls do the right thing and get their suppliers to negotiate union contracts. We want you to join us! Hold a solidarity picket line at Costco or Whole Foods on March 31st! Or call in to Driscolls (831)-763-3259 to let them know that you are in support of independent farmworker unions FUJ and El Sindicato! Boycott until contracts! Hasta al Fin, The Boycott Coordination Team
Here's a link to a facebook page with photos from the latest demonstrations against Driscoll's and Costco: https://www.facebook.com/david.bacon.5496/media_set?set=a.10208237842011360.1073741841.1461973423&type=3&pnref=story Here's also the webpage for Familias Unidas por la Justicia and the Driscoll's boycott: https://www.facebook.com/boycottsakumaseattle/?fref=ts
Got some Driscoll strawberries. I thought they were unusually huge which implies to me the use of Monsanto's chemicals. Now I'm reading your comments about the use of pesticides. Seriously not worth the effort and totally not HEALTHY!!!!!!
Driscolls is not a good company. They try to act like they care about the community. One example is that they donate to the Central Coast YMCA. The CCYMCA is engaged in discrimination of the elderly, disabled and the poor, the very people they set out to help. The CEO (Andy Weighill) claims every penny goes to the disabled and the poor. Really? Every penny? Sounds like a scam and Driscolls is a part of it. Avoid buying Driscolls strawberries until they can prove that they are concerned with the community. Giving to the Y is not proof.of that.
This comment has zero merit and is obviously made by a disgruntled idiot!
Joe, please provide facts.
This is a great example as to why your site is considered not to be credible. This comment was posted by Abe Zubow, not "Joe" who has been thrown out of every gym in Hollister. He does not care about farm workers just wants to slander people without merit. What a JOKE!

Pages

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter