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Sakuma farm workers walk off job (again), urge negotiations

The following is from Familias Unidas por la Justicia:

BURLINGTON, Wash. (Aug. 18, 2015) — Management at Sakuma Brothers Farms once again tried to exploit farmworkers by demanding Monday morning that they pick 22 1/2 pounds of berry per hour. About 120 farmworkers refused and walked out of the fields demanding a negotiation for fairer wages. Ryan Sakuma and a Vice President of Driscoll’s, a global corporation that buys Sakuma’s berries, left the field to avoid a negotiation with the workers. Farmworkers demand the rate should be 15 pounds instead of 22 1/2 pounds per hour.

sakuma-familiasFarmworkers have been trying to negotiate with Sakuma management since July 2013, and due to the lack of response called a boycott of Sakuma berries and Driscoll’s label. Boycott committees have been established throughout the Pacific Northwest in support of the farmworkers demand of a union contract.

Early this month another group of farmworkers employed by Valley Pride in Bow, Wash., decided to also walk out of the berry fields due to similar demands from the employer to pick more pounds per hour and denying them access to bathrooms and water. Valley Pride farmworkers joined Familias Unidas por la Justicia union and are now members of the only independent farmworker union in Washington state.

Farmworker will go back to the fields Tuesday morning asking for a negotiation meeting with Sakuma management and will continue fighting for a union contract and a $15 per hour wage. Farmworkers will be back at the fields Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. Watch for updates at the Familias Facebook page.

Familias Unidas por la Justicia is made up of over 300 indigenous migrant farmworker families who have held work strikes and launched a boycott in order to secure a contract with their employer, Sakuma Bros. Farm. Learn more at

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