Farm workers decide on representation after Sakuma Brothers and FUJ reach agreement on a fair process.
September 12th, 2016 - Based on the results of a secret ballot election, our independent grower Sakuma Brothers announced that their seasonal hand harvest employees voted to elect Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) as their worker representative. Both Sakuma and FUJ worked together to create and put into place a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and adopted rules that led to the recent election. This framework ultimately helped farmworkers express their freedom to associate with FUJ. The neutral parties of retired National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) director Richard Ahearn and Kerstin Lindgren of the Fair World Project provided assistance in making the election process open, safe and fair.
Driscoll’s acknowledges and supports the farmworkers' decision to organize and initiate collective bargaining with Sakuma Brothers leadership. Similarly, we respect and value the right of farmworkers to join, or not join, any and all organizations without intimidation or harassment. This is the choice of the workers and not Driscoll’s or any other organization or group.
Sakuma Brothers is an independent grower of Driscoll’s berries. Until recently, our brand was targeted with a secondary boycott by FUJ. As part of the agreement on a fair process reached in the MOU, FUJ is calling for an end of the boycott of both Sakuma and Driscoll’s. In addition, FUJ has asked all of their boycott committees to cancel events in opposition to Sakuma and to start promoting the farm.
With a berry farming heritage of more than 100 years, Driscoll’s has been steadfast and consistent in its approach to worker welfare. Driscoll’s takes it very seriously with any concerns on how our independent growers treat their farmworkers. Driscoll’s has global Worker Welfare standards and we work with an independent, third-party auditing firm to ensure Worker Welfare standards are being upheld.
Our standards are based on the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions, Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) Standards, Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) Standards and a collaborative review of agriculture-specific standards from several non-governmental organizations. These standards represent criteria that apply where laws do not exist, are not consistently enforced, or provide lower protection to the workers.
We have, and will continue to be, committed to ensuring farmworkers are treated with consideration and respect, that their workplaces are clean and healthy, and employment within the Driscoll’s system provides a sufficient income to live with dignity. We encourage our growers to participate in open communication with their farmworkers and advocacy groups for the betterment of their workers and communities.