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On October 15, about 40 people, including students from UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Watsonville High School, as well as community members from Santa Cruz and Watsonville, came out to the Driscoll's Distribution Center and Berry Store in Aromas, California, to relay the message that the boycott of Driscoll's continues until Driscoll's negotiates a union contract with the farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico who harvest the lucrative berries. Currently, farmworkers receive as little as $6 a day for 12-15 hours of work, with no benefits or job security.
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 10/13/16)
Driscoll’s Boycott in Full Force
Labor groups have issued a statement clarifying the Driscoll's berries boycott is still in full effect and farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico continue to work for the recognition of their union in order to negotiate the signing of a collective bargaining agreement. In Washington State, the results of an election on September 12 confirmed the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia as the formal representatives of farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farm, a supplier to Driscoll’s. A rally and protest will be held at the Driscoll's distribution center in Aromas on October 15.
The National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement passed a resolution in solidarity with farmworkers at the 21st LCLAA National Membership Convention held August 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. In the resolution, the Sacramento LCLAA Chapter went on record in support of "the struggle of the 70,000 farmworkers in San Quintin and the 468 farmworkers in Skagit County, Washington, for better wages, working conditions, and the recognition of their fighting unions..."
Thu Aug 4 2016 (Updated 08/14/16)
Boycott Driscoll's Won't Stop
On August 6 and 7, 2016, local activists engaged thousands of people at the 22nd Annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival to raise awareness about the Driscoll's Boycott and the harsh realities of farmworkers who pick the precious berries. A banner declaring "No More Blood Berries" was displayed from the third-story of the Lettunich Building on Saturday and from the roof of the Mansion House on Sunday while shouting, "Boycott Driscoll's" and "No More Blood Berries." The buildings are the most iconic structures in downtown Watsonville and stand as subtle reminders of the apple growing, packing, and export industry in the Pájaro Valley. Both buildings are Santa Cruz County Historical Trust Landmarks on Main Street and overlook the Watsonville Strawberry Festival.
The Watsonville Brown Berets are keeping the pressure on Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, who are headquartered in Watsonville, California. On July 2, the Saturday before July 4th BBQs, the Brown Berets and other community members demonstrated in front of the Safeway on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville to raise awareness and show solidarity with farmworkers in Washington state and Baja California leading the worldwide boycott of Driscoll's berries, including all products made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries sold by Driscoll's.
On May 31, students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to de-shelve Sabra hummus, and prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
Why won't the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) support the Driscoll's Boycott? That's one of the questions UFW Vice President Lauro Barajas would not answer after he spoke at Hillary Clinton's rally in Salinas on May 25. The UFW will not reveal when their friendship with Driscoll's began. However, a photograph from May 2013 reveals their relationship with Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based subsidiary of Driscoll's.