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Farmworker solidarity grows across the U.S.

After all the lessons history has taught us, people unthinkingly continue to trample the rights of their neighbors. Doing the right thing requires effort to learn what the right thing is. The struggle of any working people is a concern for all working people.

On May first, while all the media attention was focussed on the buffoonery of the Seattle Police Department, I.W.W. members from around our region marched in Bellingham, Washington. The ongoing struggle for union recognition for Familias Unidas por la Justicia continues.


Farmworker solidarity


Early in the morning, the farmworkers began their march from miles outside Bellingham. I.W.W. picketers met up with students from Western Washington University and supporters from Community to Community at the COSTCO on the north side of Bellingham around noon.

The intrepid farmworkers marched in and joined the picket around one o’clock. A brief demonstration commenced by the front doors of COSTCO and then the entire ensemble continued onward. Together the groups marched the last three miles to Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park.

The farmworkers claim that the work they do is drastically undervalued by their employer Sakuma Brothers Farms. They are the biggest berry supplier to Driscoll’s Berries, the world’s largest berry distributer. The farmworkers of Familias Unidas por la Justicia still face an uphill battle, but they have caught the attention of one national news broadcast, Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! reporters investigated on the following weekend and aired an excellent report on May ninth, which can be viewed on the Democracy Now! video archive. There, COSTCO members state that COSTCO should demand from its vendors the same basic dignity that the store shares with its employees.

The boycott of Driscoll’s Berries has grown across the continent. While the spotlight briefly shined on Bellingham, pickets at the Tumwater COSTCO and others across the west coast and across the United States ensued. The infant union Familias Unidas por la Justicia even has a branch in Baja, California, Mexico.

Remind your families and neighbors before going to the grocery store that “an injury to one is and injury to all.” Learn more about this at the website, boycottsakumaberries.com

—Russ Frizzell

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