U.S.: FUJ ramps up pressure ahead of Sakuma union negotiation

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U.S.: FUJ ramps up pressure ahead of Sakuma union negotiation

In the wake of Sakuma Brothers Farms' announcement it will hold a secret ballot for potential union recognition, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) still planed to go ahead with an annual march to the company's processing plant.

In a release late last week, the union said the decision was encouraging and showed a boycott campaign against the farm and buyer Driscoll's had worked.

However, FUJ was at odds with Sakuma's communication of the matter, claiming the producer had requested confidentiality prior to a meeting scheduled on July 14.

"While we certainly were encouraged by Sakuma approaching us initially, unfortunately, the recent press statements and actions by Sakuma, are far from encouraging," the union said in the release.

"First, FUJ did not receive the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Sakuma directly but rather indirectly through an intermediary. FUJ received it on July 4, 2016 not on June 27th as Sakuma stated.

"Second, the draft MOU proposed by Sakuma Berry Farms was slated to be mutually discussed by both parties in a meeting scheduled on July 14th at their request.  This draft MOU has not been negotiated nor has it been discussed between FUJ and Sakuma."

The group said it was shocked at Sakuma's decision to release a press statement.

"Despite Sakuma’s attempt to unilaterally impose an election process, FUJ has been and is ready to meet and negotiate a fair process for the workers to choose their union representatives without intimidation or coercion on July 14th or before if necessary," said FUJ president Ramon Torres.

At the time of writing yesterday, the FUJ planned to start the march to the plant in Burlington, Washington State at 3:30pm, calling for a transparent and fair negotiation process for a secret ballot union election that it claimed would lead to a collective bargaining agreement.

"We are ready and prepared to begin negotiating, and have been since July 11, 2013," Torres said.


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