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Join Sakuma berry pickers’ March for a Contract on Saturday

BURLINGTON — After work stoppages on the first few days of the blueberry harvest, farmworkers at Sakuma Brothers Farms continue their struggle for fair treatment and a contract.

sakuma-march-15Jul11TAKE A STAND — Support the Sakuma berry pickers who have organized with the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia at a March for a Contract this Saturday, July 11. Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Cook Road and Old Highway 99 in Burlington. The date commemorates the Sakuma farmworkers’ first strike in 2013, which led to the formation of their union.

Last week, Sakuma berry pickers walked off the job on the first two days of the blueberry harvest over management’s attempts to divide the workers into small groups and isolate FUJ supporters. Some 200 workers called for the work stoppage.

“This is a reprisal action against the union,” said Benito Lopez from FUJ. “The company didn’t want us to start work at the same time. They wanted us to be in groups of 10 people, and each group begins work every 15 minutes one after the other. Sakuma is still trying to divide the workers, but all workers decided to remain together and walked out from the field in unity and against yet another unjust labor practice. On top of the low wages, now we have to put up with these practices.”

Rather than daily negotiations over the conditions of employment and berry weight requirements to earn the posted hourly wage, workers want a contract that guarantees their fair treatment and protects their rights, but so far Sakuma Brothers have refused to negotiate one.

So it’s time for the community to come together and send a message to Sakuma Brothers that we support local farms, local farmworkers, and a contract for those who want one. Join Saturday’s rally to show your support.

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