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[Sakuma tells] the public that they are paying a fair wage. $12 per hour, and provide us with good working conditions just like is required by the contract they have covering the wages and working conditions of the guest workers.

If that is true, why won’t they put that in writing in a contract with us?

That is all we are asking; an enforceable contract that guarantees what they say they are already doing.

We are engaged in a labor dispute with Sakuma Berry Farms about fair wages, job security, respect at work and recognition of our Union so we can have healthy families and a strong farm worker community.

All we are asking is to work with them to show the world that working conditions for farm workers can be improved.

Si Se Puede!

Familias Unidas Por La Justicia, “Statement to the Community,” October 2013

"

The Sakuma family would not live even for a day in their own labor camps.

They say they are concerned about our health and safety but they still make us work when we’re sick, and the cabins are not fit for our families, the gas stoves leak gas, the tin roofs leak rain, there is no heat in cold rainy weather and no cool air in the hot summer days.

They sent private security guards into our housing area to watch us at home and at work, in order to break our union.

… But a Skagit county judge told Sakuma the guards could not be there, and they had to take them out, because the guards were unlawful interference with out right to act together as a union.

"

"

As one of our members says,

“I’m 25 yrs old, but my body feels much older…how will I take care of my children when they are older, and my body is broken down.When my body’s all used up, they’ll dispose of me (fire me or deport me). I’ve been coming here to pick berries since I was 14. I’m 25 now. This company has taken my youth, and it will take my children’s youth.”

We’re not just here for the stoop labor, we are part of the community.

We deserve to live long and healthy lives too, so we can see our children and grandchildren grow up healthy.

"

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This season [2013], we formed Familias Unidas por la Justicia and presented to the world the reality of working for Sakuma Bros. Farms.

Rather than acknowledging our reality the Sakuma family is not willing to sit down with us. They know what they’re doing is wrong and shameful.

Instead, they engaged a Public Relations firm to spread disinformation about us and our self-organizing.

They don’t want the local community to find out that they have systematically stolen our wages, particularly our children’s wages, and blamed it on a “glitch”.

What do you call a “glitch” that has been going on for years? 3 days ago when we checked several pay stubs we found the same “miscalculations” of our wages – not just the young people but adults as well.

These “miscalculations” or “glitches” have been happening for years.

Every year counts for us – Berry picking like this takes our youth away.

"

"You see the farmland and the owners, but not the workers. We have a different reality that is silenced and invisible.

We are Familias Unidas por la Justicia.

We are 300+ predominantly Triqui and Mixteco people; Spanish is our second or third language.

We travel with our families from California to pick berries throughout the West Coast.

Many of us have been coming to Skagit County to pick Strawberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries for Sakuma Bros. Farms for years.

Every year that we have been coming to Sakuma Farms we have tried to ask for better wages, housing, and treatment from the Sakuma Family.

After years of trying to change the conditions we felt it was necessary to organize into the Union that we are today to make a lasting impact.

Nobody has paid attention to the farm workers at Sakuma Berry Farms until now.”

Familias Unidas Por La Justicia, Statement to the Community (October 2013).

The struggle for a union contract with Sakuma is Familias Unidas Por La Justicia’s. The work we do as Students for Farmworker Justice in solidarity with Familias Unidas is to promote the consumer boycott of Sakuma products and Haagen Dazs (Haagen Dazs buys many of their berries from Sakuma). One of the ways we do this by reaching out to stores, informing the management of the boycott, and asking them to pull the berries. If the store does not pull the berries, we organize awareness-raising pickets aimed to inform the public of the boycott and to ask them not to purchase the products covered under the boycott.

" MY FOOD IS CRUELTY FREE "

- people who eat crops picked by under payed, overworked, exploited and abused poor migrant workers (via bertoltbrechtfast)

(via foucaultsbae)

The Puget Sound ILWU backs Familias Unidas Por La Justicia in their struggle for justice!

A Skagit County judge found that changes made this year to Sakuma’s housing policy were discriminatory and ruled that Sakuma could not close its labor camps to the families of farmworkers. The changed housing policy excluded the vast majority of farmworker families who have been working at Sakuma for many years now and who are members of Familias Unidas Por La Justicia.

Although the camps have many problems, which the farmworkers attempted to address last year during the course of the strikes, it is our belief that Sakuma changed the housing policy to exclude farmworkers who were attempting to organize.

This year, Sakuma applied for 438 guest workers under the H-2A program, claiming that sufficient local labor was unavailable (the only legal reason to apply for guest workers under H-2A). However, the more than 450 farmworker families who joined Familias Unidas last year had all been clear about their intent to re-apply and delivered signed letters to this effect in order to demonstrate that Sakuma had not looked for local labor before applying for guest workers. The Department of Labor found Sakuma’s application to be deficient in multiple regards, and Sakuma ultimately withdrew the application. We contend that Sakuma could not reasonably have believed that there was a real shortage of labor given the circumstances.