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Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:46 PM

Alleging Labor Abuses, U.S. and Mexican Workers Call for Boycott of Driscoll’s Berries


Driscoll’s may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons. Its conventional and organic berries can be found year-round everywhere from Sam’s Club to Whole Foods. To keep its berries stocked far and wide, the company uses a vast supplier network stretching from Canada to Argentina.

But some of those suppliers are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.

Poverty wages in Baja

While Driscoll’s is a family-owned company, it’s no mom-and-pop operation. According to its website, over 40,000 people are involved in its berry production worldwide. The company has a code of conduct for its suppliers, called the “Promise for Workforce Welfare,” which includes obeying minimum legal requirements and avoiding egregious labor violations like human trafficking and conditions “posing immediate risk to life or limb.” Driscoll’s says it is committed to hiring suppliers that “show a sincere commitment” to such principles.

But Bonifacio Martinez questions whether those requirements are enough. Martinez picked strawberries and blackberries destined for Driscoll’s boxes for 10 years. Now he’s a leader in the farmworker movement that erupted last month in the fields of San Quintin, in the Mexican state of Baja California. Thousands of farm laborers picking multiple crops stopped work for nearly two weeks, demanding higher wages and legally required benefits, among other protections.

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Reply Alleging Labor Abuses, U.S. and Mexican Workers Call for Boycott of Driscoll’s Berries (Original post)
Sherman A1 Apr 2015 OP
Omaha Steve Apr 2015 #1
Sherman A1 Apr 2015 #2
2naSalit Apr 2015 #3

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 03:18 PM

1. There go my fresh berries

We get them at the Kroger (Bakers) store.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 03:21 PM

2. I know what you mean

we pick them up at a variety of local grocers and this is going to be a bit inconvenient. Not, however as inconvenient as life seems for those working in the fields for next to nothing.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 03:29 PM

3. I stopped buying their products way back in the 1980s

because they irradiate their products. Some may suffer no adverse affects but they make me violently ill. I had to handle tons of their berries back in my trucking days. I don't care how badly I want red raspberries, I won't waste my $$ on them if all the store has to offer is Driscoll's. I'll go to a store that doesn't carry them or just wait until they are in season in my region so I can know where they come from. When it comes to berries, it's better to buy local when they are in season, otherwise you don't really know what you're getting and paying highway robbery prices for.

I bought what were advertised as organic blueberries from Canada several weeks ago, they weren't cheap but I wanted them so I bought them. But when I washed them up and popped a few in my mouth, I was disappointed to find that they were devoid of flavor and had the consistency of rubber pellets. I threw them out to see if the migratory and resident birds would eat them... they wouldn't touch them and even worse, they didn't decay for over a week, even after being snowed on four times. they're still out there, three weeks later and some have shriveled up but they aren't decomposing!

Frankenfood indeed.

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