Labor Standards Updates

Message from Soren Bjorn, President, Driscoll’s of the Americas

For more than 100 years, Driscoll’s has been passionate about growing great tasting berries. As a family-owned company, our farming heritage includes a commitment to improving the communities where our berries are grown and harvested. We value everyone who is part of this process and we understand that as a trusted brand, it is our responsibility to ensure our berries are grown and harvested in a way that is consistent with our vision and strong values. We must also ensure the right working conditions are in place on the independent farms that supply our berries.

Driscoll’s takes very seriously how farmworkers are treated. In 2015, Driscoll’s was met with unprecedented challenges regarding the on-farm operational practices of our independent growers. Since then, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and have turned a critical eye toward labor practices across our entire enterprise. We saw this as an opportunity to continue improving our practices and demonstrate industry leadership. Our goal is to promote health, safety and respect for all farm workers while providing transparency in our continuing journey of upholding our Global Labor Standards with the hundreds of independent growers who supply our berries around the world.  

Since 2015, significant challenges were resolved through collaboration between industry, growers, the Mexican federal government, and labor leaders. Below are links to further details of the resolutions. Driscoll’s continues to outreach with groups who continue to express concerns and share with them our continuous improvement efforts and depth of commitment to Labor Standards. 

Baja Strike Ends June 2015:  Mexican Government, Agriculture Industry and Local Farm Workers Negotiate Wages
Boycott Resolution: Sakuma Brothers and FUJ Reach Agreement on a Fair Process

As part of our core values of passion, humility and trustworthiness, we also continue to welcome the opportunity to meet and learn from any farmworker advocacy group who may have concerns about the practices of our network of independent growers. We’ve extended invitations in the past and remain open today for in-person discussions that help move us forward. 

Driscoll’s labor standards make clear our position and role when it comes to unions, freedom of association and collective bargaining. Our labor standards do include ensuring workers have the freedom whether to choose (or not to choose) to establish, affiliate and take action in free and independent legal workers’ organizations without interference or reprisals. This is the choice of the workers and not Driscoll’s or any other organizations or groups.
 
We understand our work to improve worker welfare is far from over. Along with extensive worker welfare trainings with our growers, conducting 3rd party audits against our standards and assisting our growers in corrective actions, Driscoll’s has recently expanded our Fair Trade program in Baja California, Mexico with the goal of having 100% Fair Trade Certified™ product coming out of that region by the end of 2019. Along with strict environmental and social requirements that align with our labor standards, the program generates funds that support projects that positively impact the entire community. Below is a link to more information about the program and the impact it has on the workforce. 
 
Driscoll's Fair Trade Certification Program
 
To bring about meaningful and sustainable change, we also lead efforts to move the entire industry forward. Driscoll’s, in collaboration with the Product Marketing Association, the United Fresh Product Association, and other industry leaders, endorsed the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. This framework, based in part on our experiences within our enterprise, contains guiding principles and values that define responsible labor practices. Below is a link to learn more about the charter. 
 
Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices 
 
We believe that all farm workers have the right to be treated with respect that their workplaces are clean and healthy, and that employment within the Driscoll's system provides income opportunities that meet or exceed the local standards. We are hopeful that our efforts will allow us to remain humble and uphold our Mission to continually delight our berry consumers by better aligning with our growers and customers.

 

- SOREN BJORN, President, DRISCOLL’S OF the Americas