United Families for Justice. We demand fair work conditions!
United Families for Justice (Familias Unidas para la Justicia, FUJ), organized solidarity committees with union representatives and a monthly brigade in California to raise awareness of their cause. Since 2013, the union workers fought for equal rights in the work place at Sakuma Berry Farm in Washington State. The union fought to instate a union agreement with Sakuma that would pay workers a living wage of $15 per hour and provide a basic benefits package, medical insurance, housing and the right to a fair grievance process.
FUJ is an independent chapter of the union made up of 280 migrant worker families. These families have worked for more than 10 years on Sakuma Farm picking strawberry, blackberry and cranberry. The company exploited, discriminated and mistreated the workers for many years. Due to these inhumane conditions in the workplace and living quarters, the workers pleaded with the union to help them organize and fight to defend their rights in the workplace.
During the process of organizing and striking, FUJ found out that Driscoll’s, a giant company contracted by Sakuma to trade fruit during the initial boycotts, and its counterpart (BerryMex) in Baja California, Mexico managed huge berry plantations and also exploited the rights of its workers, mostly indigenous families.
In March 2015, eighty thousand workers from San Quintin Valley began a general strike against Driscoll-BerryMex. They demanded:
– basic housing and medical insurance,
– fair daily wages,
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– prohibit employing minors. At the time 40% of the workers were younger than 15 years old.
United Families for Justice not only fought for their rights but also demanded an established agreement with Partnership of Workers in San Quintin. The union would only agree to the terms if both organizations honored the rights for all workers. Solidarity is the backbone for the union.
On March 24, 2016 Gill Tract, MESA and Food First hosted an event in Oakland, CA to support FUJ representatives in their efforts to organize and form a solidarity committee. We demanded humane and dignified work conditions for the workers of United Families for Justice as well as Partnership for Workers in San Quintin. Solidarity is the most important and critical tool we have in our fight! Yes we can!