Boycott Sakuma Berries

Familias Unidas por la Justicia Worker Strike – Day 2

Farmworkers at Sakuma Berry Farms Demand Negotiations with Management 

July 2, 2015 Burlington, WA – Today, as a result of negotiation between Familias Unidas por la Justicia and Sakuma management in the fields, over 200 farmworkers received punch cards to verify the exact number of pounds picked on a daily basis. The company also agreed to stop the new practice of having workers begin their day in groups of 15 minute intervals. However the negotiations fell apart on the demand from the workers to pick 15 lbs to earn the $10 per hour minimum wage; Sakuma management refused to negotiate and continued to insist on 35lbs minimum for the $10 per hour wage. A session of over an hour produced a stalemate and the workers walked out in frustration. Then Familias Unidas por la Justicia Vice-President Felimon Pineda, with the entire group,  marched back into the fields led by him to deliver a formal written demand for a negotiation of a union contract.

The company responded harshly by bringing additional upper management, lawyers, and by calling the Skagit County Sheriff’s office. Felimon Pineda led a peaceful assembly requesting a negotiation session for a union contract, when the company refused to negotiate, the workers peacefully exited the company property and moved on to a  boycott of Driscoll picket line at a Costco in Burlington.

In a meeting with allies and union leadership, the workers collectively agreed to return to work tomorrow and try to negotiate a lower number of pounds per hour for the $10 minimum wage established by the company. The workers raised concerns on the 35 lbs per hour required; some of the women pickers spoke to the Union leadership about this requirement being inhumane production standards and also the unhealthy impacts they have begun to feel as they rush to meet the 35lb limit due to the high temperatures. Several women reported having felt throbbing headaches and fatigue in the last week.

“It is hard for us to keep working fast to be able to pick 35 pounds an hour, sometimes we feel sick” said a farm worker woman who migrated to Skagit County with her family from California, to escape the high heat “ I thought it would be cooler, in California they were not asking us for a minimum number of pounds per hour, we were getting paid a straight $10 hr. – when they recruited us to come here they told us we would be able to earn $17 hr., that is why we agreed to come to Sakuma, we were tricked” she was afraid to identify herself for fear of reprisals since she also was not told of the labor conflict at Sakuma Berry Farms.  The workers agreed that no one should put their health in danger to meet Sakuma’s 35 pounds per hour requirement.

Check out photos on the Familias Unidas por la Justicia  Facebook page



July 11th 2013 was the date that hundreds of farm workers at Sakuma Bros berry farm went on strike to demand an end to exploitative production standards and the unjust firing of Frederico Lopez.

Since then the workers have formed a union and have been fighting for a union contract to ensure that they get fair treatment from their employer.

Join Familias Unidas por la Justicia in this historic struggle at their third annual march for a union contract.

Click Here for Facebook Event Page 



ATTN: Boycott is Succeeding!  We are Growing!  Website under construction to improve communication.  – Liisa

22 Responses to Boycott Sakuma Berries

  1. Kelly says:

    Why should we not purchase these berries from these companies. What is going on?

    • necalli says:

      Dear Kelly,

      There has been a labor dispute at Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc. that began in July of 2013. Since then, striking farm workers have formed a union called Familias Unidas por la Justicia. That worker organization represents the migrant labor force that has worked for the company for over a decade has led 8 strikes and launched an international boycott against Sakuma Berries until the farm owners do the right thing and negotiate a union contract with the workers. The farm has lost half a dozen lawsuits brought by the labor union over wage and hour violations, abuse, retaliation, and unlawful housing practices targeting the unionized farm workers. The workers continue their boycott against the company and it’s production contracts and request that any consumers that believe in justice for farm workers to observe the boycott. This page has a list of places where boycott volunteers have documented the selling of Sakuma Berries under different labels. Thanks for your support!

  2. Delaney Piper says:

    Also in Seattle, Central Co-op has been selling Driscoll.

  3. Thriftway on Vashon is selling Dirscoll’s Berries now having no more visible Sakuma boxes of berries since talking to the manager and owner. I will keep talking to them. Thanks for this great website. I will check IGA again as well which was selling Sakuma and Driscoll’s last we talked to the owner. Blessing upon your good work.

  4. La Stephanie says:

    Hi, Living in the Portland, Or area. Are Sakuma berries sold here?

    • necalli says:

      Yes, you will find Sakuma Berries processed and packaged into Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream, you may also find Sakuma Berries packaged in Driscoll’s labeled berries.

  5. Laura Friedman says:

    Is this boycott of Driscoll products and Hagen Das still in effect? I read about this from a FB post. I but Driscoll berries all the time and had no idea about the boycott. I live in NYC.

    • necalli says:

      Yes, the farmworkers confirmed that they are picking into Driscoll’s berry labels. Sakuma is also still selling processed berries to Haagen-Dazs. Thanks for supporting the boycott! Please write us and tell us where you find Sakuma Berries so that we can put it up on the website.

      • In early July, I checked with Trudy Bialik in administration at Puget Sound Consumers Coop (PCC) and she sent me an email emphasizing that the PCC does not and will not sell Sakuma Bros. produce. However, I see that they are selling produce in Driscolls’ boxes so they may not know that the farmworkers are picking in Driscolls’ label (all the boxes have a “Watsonville, CA” address).

      • necalli says:

        Thank you for keeping us updated. Yes, Driscoll’s sources its fruit from regional suppliers, Sakuma Bros Farms happens to be one of them. At the moment, Sakuma Bros is picking into blackberry clamshells with the Driscoll’s label. See the label on the front page of the website. Thank you for observing the boycott!

  6. In Seattle, the Puget Sound Consumer Coop stores are selling Driscoll’s berries. I spoke to the Produce guy at the N.E. 65th and 40th N.E. store and he had not heard about a boycott. He wanted info. I’ll give him a flyer.

  7. L N says:

    Whole Foods Roosevelt Store Seattle is expecting Sakuma Brothers berries today, May 29. They have not carried them in past years. Produce Manager did not know of labor controversy.

  8. L N says:

    last week, Central Market Shoreline Store Manager Joel Larway stated that a conference call reported Town + Country Markets will NOT be carrying Sakuma Brothers berries in the “foreseeable future”

  9. Anita says:

    Is there an establish group at the University of Washington to fight for this cause? If so, I would like more information

  10. Anywhere in Yakima, Wenatchee, or surrounding communities that carry these products? We have a group of students here at Central Washington University who would like to organize a protest/boycott outside of a grocery store who carries these products.

    • necalli says:

      Dear Ms. Martinez,

      Thank you for moving forward with the CWU boycott committee. We will be updating you by e-mail soon!

  11. Pingback: Familias Unidas por la Justicia President Fired by Sakuma, 300 pickers walk out | Káráni: Escribir o Volar

  12. Moderator says:

    FYI, Only California has a food chain transparency law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s