U.S.: Sakuma farmworkers vote yes for union

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U.S.: Sakuma farmworkers vote yes for union

After a series of walk-outs in recent months and delayed negotiations, farmworkers at Washington State berry grower Sakuma Brothers Farms have voted to be represented by the union Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ).

The vote marks a milestone in what has been a heated labor relations conflict for the last three years, which has included a call on the public to boycott a well-known company that sources the farm's berries - Driscoll's.

In April last year Sakuma CEO Danny Weeden was adamant union negotiations were off the table, but on June 27 this year a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was given to the FUJ to establish a process for a secret ballot union election.

In a release, the FUJ said workers voted on Sept. 12 to have the union represent them in negotiations for a union contract, with a 77% majority.


FUJ represents over 500 Triqui, Mixteco, and Spanish speaking workers at the farm, and was formed in July 11, 2013, with the aim of securing a better future for hand harvesters in the local berry fields of Whatcom and Skagit County.

The union said that after Sakuma agreed to a union election, FUJ worked with the grower to jointly develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) laying out a fair election process resulting in the recent win.

"This win is a win for all farmworkers," said FUJ president Ramon Torres.

"Now we will be getting ready for a union contract negotiation process."

"We want to thank all our supporters that helped made this victory happen, and we are looking forward to a new and productive relationship with Sakuma," added FUJ vice president Felimon Pineda.

At the time of writing Sakuma Brothers representatives had not yet responded to requests for comment.

Headline photo: www.shutterstock.com


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