The farmworker union Familias Unidas Por la Jusitica has won another court case! The union has been organizing for workers rights and a fair contract at Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm and calling for a Driscoll’s and Sakuma berries boycott until a fair contract is signed.
The recent court case forces policy changes around visitors to worker cabins and distribution of literature – big barriers put in place by Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm management clearly to impede organizing efforts.
The Skagit County Superior Court ruled today that Sakuma Brothers Farms must stop prohibiting farm workers who live at its labor camps from having visitors in their own homes. The court also struck down rules preventing distribution of literature at the camps.
After workers unionized last year, Sakuma changed its rules in 2014 to prohibit anyone who was not a resident of a cabin from entering that cabin, and to require all visitors to use the “visitor center,” a sparsely furnished trailer near the guard house, with access controlled by Sakuma’s guards. The effect of the rules was to stop workers’ family members from entering their homes, stop workers from visiting each other for any reason – including to talk about working conditions or plan union activities – and to stop union organizers from doing their work in the camps.
The court found that the restrictions violated workers’ rights as tenants to use and enjoy their homes. It also said that the rules violated state labor law because the rules interfere with workers’ right to organize, and because Sakuma changed the rules in retaliation for workers’ union activities in the past year.
“The court recognized our dignity as human beings and as workers with this decision,” said Felimon Pineda, Vice President of Familias Unidas. “This is a victory for the union and for all the workers who live in the camps.”
Read the rest at Boycott Sakuma Berries, or check out these news stories:
- Judge rules for Familias Unidas in latest Sakuma labor complaint – Skagit Valley Herald
- Judge strikes ban on guests in farmworker housing – Associated Press
Stay tuned for more updates and ways to take action and support Familias Unidas por la Justicia with CAGJ and our Food Justice Proejct!