”Some of the farmworkers who make it possible for U.S. consumers to have berries for breakfast are paid about $6 a day. Those farmworkers include children toiling for 12 hours a day at 85 percent the amount of money that adults get paid. Many farmworkers do not get lunch and rest breaks and are subjected to terrible housing conditions.
Hoping to rectify these issues, farmworkers in the United States and in Mexico have been on a three-year-long fight to get Driscolls — the world’s largest berry distributor — to recognize their unions so that they could have better working and living conditions.
Ramon Torres, a 31-year-old Mexican immigrant, is one of the people leading the fight to unionize. As the president of the independent farmworker union Families United for Justice (FUJ), he has been picking berries since he was 18 years old. His most recent employer was the Washington state-based Sakuma Bros. Farms, which supplies its products through the Driscoll’s label. Through the years, Torres has seen and experienced many hardships, like wage theft, lack of rest breaks, and cramped housing conditions. By law, his employer has to provide housing for migrant farmworkers like Torres. But the cabins often hold three times as many people as they should.
About 1,500 miles away at another Driscolls-operated farm in San Quintin, Mexico that’s packaged through the BerryMex label, Gloria Gracida Martinez, a former farmworker and the spokesperson for their farmworker-led union La Alianza, has seen similar instances of poor working conditions crop up.
Driscoll’s partnership with BerryMex and MoraMex yielded 25 million flats of strawberries to the U.S. in 2014, The Nation reported. But for all that the companies have monetized in Mexico’s $550 million annual berry harvest revenue, Mexican farmworkers aren’t seeing a comparable increase in their working and living conditions.
Instead, Gracida Martinez recounted the stories of farmworkers who have had to deal with wage theft, children as young as 12 being put to work, and people who were shot and beaten for trying to form a union.” http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2016/04/01/3764433/driscolls-boycott/ #BoycottDriscolls