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Indybay Feature
Wed Apr 22 2015
U.S. and Mexican Workers Call for Boycott of Driscoll’s Berries
Workers Employed by Driscoll's Suppliers Demand Higher Wages and Legally Required Benefits
Suppliers of Driscoll’s, which may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons, are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.

Its conventional and organic berries can be found year-round everywhere from Sam’s Club to Whole Foods. Driscoll's is headquartered in Watsonville, California. The company has fields in California, Florida, Mexico, and Australia, but to keep its berries stocked far and wide, it uses a vast supplier network stretching from Canada to Argentina.

Last month in the fields of San Quintin, in the Mexican state of Baja California, thousands of farm laborers picking multiple crops destined for Driscoll's boxes stopped work for nearly two weeks, demanding higher wages and legally required benefits, among other protections. Protests turned acrimonious when demonstrators threw rocks at government vehicles and police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

In Washington state, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), which says it represents over 400 berry pickers, has been locked in a labor struggle with Driscoll’s supplier Sakuma Brothers Farms since 2013. FUJ has long held a boycott against Sakuma berries and its largest customers, Driscoll’s and Häagen-Dazs. On March 24, it doubled down on the boycott when the fair trade advocacy organization Fair World Project sent a letter to Driscoll’s, signed by nearly 10,000 consumers, asking it to suspend buying from Sakuma Brothers until the dispute is resolved. The signatories pledged not to buy Driscoll’s berries until then.

Read More | See Also: Driscoll’s Berry Boycott and Labor Dispute Intensifies
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