Behind those delicious berries at your local supermarket may be wage theft and union busting. Local activists picketed the 14th Street Whole Foods and Trader Joe's last Saturday to ask both chains to drop Driscoll's Berries and urge customers to refuse to buy them. “Driscoll's is a major distributor for Sakuma, a berry producer known for wage theft, union busting, and even an armed raid on a camp where their workers were living,” reports “Mark,” a grocery store worker and member of the DC IWW, one of the picket organizers, along with DC Fair Food, Three Part Harmony Farm, and DC Stampede. Click below to read more...
The Oct. 24 picket was in solidarity with Familias Unidas Por La Justica, a farmworkers union of mostly Indigenous Triqui and Mixteco workers. After Sakuma fired a worker in 2013 for asking for a higher piece rate for picking strawberries, the workers organized and launched a series of strikes demanding higher wages. “Sakuma agreed to negotiate a higher piece rate through collective bargaining, then went back on their word, sending armed security guards to the worker's labor camp and shadowing public marches,” Mark says. When Sakuma broke off negotiations, the union called for a consumer boycott of all Sakuma products including Driscoll's Berries and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The latter two are major buyers of Sakuma's produce. Click here to find out more about the boycott.