Jul 23rd, 2013 | By Chris | Category: Food Justice Blog Posts
From July 11-16, 2013, workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms went on strike over a list of fourteen demands, including the reinstatement of a co-worker who was fired for organizing advocacy for higher wages. The strike at a berry farm outside of Burlington, WA which supplies fruit for Haagen Dazs ice cream, has attracted local media attention as well as the support of the environmental and food justice communities. The Community Alliance for Global Justice stands in solidarity with the Sakuma workers and their allies, including Community to Community Development/Communidad a Communidad in Bellingham.
Farmworkers at Sakuma Brothers Farms began a second work stoppage on July 22, protesting low wages and unfair treatment. Workers claim that management is using a lower piece-rate wage to punish the work crew involved in an initial work stoppage earlier in July.
The Workers’ Rights Committee, representing more than 200 workers, agreed to end the work stoppage after Sakuma Brothers management agreed to reinstate the fired worker, Federico Lopez, and to transfer a crew supervisor who had been hostile towards workers. Negotiations continue over wages and other demands, including a higher rate per pound of fruit picked, safer and cleaner working and living conditions, not being forced to work when sick, and more.
View the full list of demands. On July 15, Community to Community Development published the following statement from the farmworkers:
We appreciate the respect that the Sakuma executives have given us during these negotiations and we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the support that the solidarity community has given us and ask that you continue to support our continuing struggle for dignity.
A July 22 post on the Community to Community website calls for support for the current work stoppage:
“Solidarity support needed NOW! We need folks to show up on the public road, at the entrance to the labor camp, to show the workers and Sakuma Bros. Farms that we support workers’ rights! 1302 A Benson Rd., Burlington, WA. Please do not enter the labor camp, as it is private property.”
The farmworkers and the Community to Community encourage supporters to express solidarity by spreading the word about their struggle and through donating to sustain workers and their families who have been affected. Donations can be made at http://www.foodjustice.org or by check written out to Community to Community Development labeled “Sakuma Workers’ Fund” to 203 W. Holly Street, Ste. 317, Bellingham, WA 98225.
In kind donations are also much needed! See the whole list of what you can send and do to help online.
CAGJ’s Food Justice Project will continue to follow the negotiations as they develop, and to work in solidarity with the Sakuma farmworkers and Community to Community to support the Sakuma Farmworkers struggle for justice. We encourage everyone to learn about and support the valuable work committed to equal rights for those who labor to produce our food. Then, take action to support the invaluable work of local food justice projects, union grocers, locally sourced restaurants, local food processors, urban farms, family farmers, farm workers, food chain workers, and other important parts of the Pacific Northwest and global food system!
Globalize the struggle, Globalize the hope
Community to Community Development
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Activist blog with negotiation updates
Community Alliance for Global Justice
For more on the Food Justice Project, check out our webpage or contact firstname.lastname@example.org