Several years ago we heard about a labor dispute in Washington. A group of farmworkers organized as Familias Unidas por la Justicia had coordinated a series of walkouts and lawsuits to demand changes at the farm, including paid breaks, better housing, higher pay, among other improvements.
By the time we heard about their struggles, they had already won several victories, including a court case that set a precedent for the entire state of Washington, requiring all farms that paid piece rate to pay farmworkers for rest breaks at their average rate.
However, the farmworkers were asking to negotiate a fair contract and management would not sit down to negotiate.
The farmworkers were so frustrated that they were calling for a boycott of the farm, Sakuma, as well as major buyers Driscoll’s and Haagen-Daaz ice cream.
As an organization that advocates for fairness throughout the food and agriculture system, we offered our support to FUJ’s cause. We saw this as a way to advocate in a very real way for a group of workers who were not protected by laws that protect other workers and who were choosing to organize and negotiate a fair contract, while at the same time raising broad awareness for the reality that most farmworkers face.
We are thrilled to report on the success of this campaign. We rallied consumers to show support for farmworkers and we met with both Driscoll’s and Sakuma to talk about their needs and challenges. These efforts not only engaged broad stakeholders, they culminated in a meaningful agreement between Sakuma and FUJ that can now serve as a model for other organized farmworkers and farms throughout the country.
Here is the thank you letter to those that showed support for farmworkers through our campaign.
Posted on September 26th 2016