On the 24th of October, the IWW, , DC Fair Food, Three Part Harmony Farm, and DC Stampede showed up outside the Whole Foods at 14th and P st and the Trader Joes on 14th st for informational pickets. They were asking both chains to drop Driscoll’s Berries and asking customers to refuse to buy them. Driscoll’s is a major distributor for Sakuma, a berry producer known for wage theft, union busting, and even an armed raid on a camp where their workers were living.
The picket was in solidarity with Familias Unidas Por La Justica, a farmworkeres union of mostly Indigenous Triqui and Mixteco workers. The union grew out of Sakuma’s decision in 2013 to fire a worker for daring to ask for a higher piece rate for picking strawberries. Six strikes followed, demanding higher wages. Sakuma agreed to negotiate a higher piece rate through collective bargaining, then went back on their word, sending armed security guards to the worker’s labor camp and shadowing public marches. When Sakuma broke off negotiations, the union called for a consumer boycott of all Sakuma products including Driscoll’s Berries and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The latter two are major buyers of Sakuma’s produce.
As for the wage theft issue, Sakuma settled one lawsuit over stolen wages in 2014 for $500,000, which amounts to a confession and confirmation that they were stealing worker’s wages.In addition for wage theft anbd union busting, Sakuma has earned a reputation for using racist slurs against Indigenous workers.