Dear Supporters, September 5, 2016
As of today we have officially agreed to an election and negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement with Sakuma Bros Berry Farm. Thanks to your tireless efforts we are entering into this next phase of our union’s development with hope and determination. At this time we are calling for an end of the boycott, and all boycott activities. Out of respect for the process and our memorandum of understanding with the company please do not contact past, present or potential customers, purchasers, sellers or users of products coming from Sakuma Bros Berry Farm to convey criticism of any and all aspects of Sakuma’s business and operations.
Just last week, our Disciples RIM office made calls to Sakuma and Driscoll headquarters with other National Farm Worker Ministry (FUJ) partners to re-commit our support for the boycott, and to request that Sakuma Berry Farms offer Familias Unidas por la Justicia a negotiation process for an agreement to enhance worker rights and pay. See the photos above of our summer 2015 participation with FUJ, as the National Farm Worker Ministry board and the Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest, in calling for a boycott of Sakuma at their Washington state headquarters.
RIM’s Director, Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea commented, “In learning of Sakuma’s decision, we as partners with Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) give thanks to God for this victorious step toward farm worker justice for Northwest berry farmers during this Labor Day week. In solidarity with FUJ, we will halt our boycott activities and contacts at this time related to Sakuma, Driscoll’s, and those who buy or sell Sakuma’s products. We will continue in strong prayer for all parties throughout the approved election and negotiation process, in hopes it may result in a just collective bargaining agreement that honors the farm workers who cultivate and harvest with Sakuma Brothers Berry Farm.” Katherine Bell, Disciples board leader with the Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest, said on Monday, “In this Labor Day week, Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest stands with Familias Unidas por la Justicia and all farm workers in not only providing a foundation for the voices of many to be heard and recognized but also remembering the voices and of our ancestors who have worked hard throughout the years. It is when workers’ stories are shared and heard among the many that healing and change can begin.”