USA: Driscoll's berry company accused over child labour, forced labour, unsanitary housing in California - company responds

 

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Article
4 January 2016

Boycott Driscoll’s Action in Watsonville [with photos & video]

Author: Bradley Allen, Bay Area Indymedia (USA)

On January 2, a couple dozen people kicked off 2016 with a protest in Watsonville, where Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, is...headquartered... The demonstrators are amplifying a campaign initiated by farmworkers in Washington State and Baja California to boycott Driscoll's strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Workers who grow, harvest, and pack the lucrative berries are struggling against the systematic abuses they are forced to endure, and the companies profiting from the exploitation of their collective labor...

According to Free Speech Radio News,..."The vast majority of the farmworkers in the fields of San Quintin are indigenous migrant laborers from Mexico’s poorest states... Their demands include raising the daily minimum wage to the equivalent of about $20, reducing the average workday from 12 to eight hours, payment of overtime for work performed on Sundays, the right to organize independent of the official unions and an end to rampant sexual abuse of women in the fields."

[also refers to Sakuma Brothers Farms]


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Article
4 January 2016

Central Coast protesters boycott large berry supplier

Author: Maya Holmes, KION News Channel 5 (USA)

About 20 protesters turned out on Freedom Street and in front of Mi Pueblo in Watsonville, a grocery store that sells Driscoll's products, which is a leading berry supplier. "To end the child slavery as well as the sexual exploitation slavery," said Tina Lemoine, with the Sacramento Brown Berets... 

On its website Driscoll’s says it has zero tolerance for practices that include child labor, forced labor and human trafficking, among other things. Protesters also claim Driscoll's is paying workers unfair wages...

Protesters also said they are speaking out against unsanitary working conditions. "Farm workers are living inside of shacks with no running water, no toiletry, no nothing like that," said Michael Garcia with the Watsonville Brown Berets.

Driscoll’s CEO Kevin Murphy [said]... "...protest efforts led by Ms. Gracida Martinez continues to unfairly target Driscoll’s with secondary boycotts, dissemination of misinformation and false accusations, including those regarding the heavily regulated use of pesticides, child labor and abuse of workers. We take our responsibility seriously when it comes to how our independent growers treat their farm workers... 

Driscoll’s has and will continue to demonstrate leadership in the agriculture industry by facilitating initiatives and standards which support socially responsible business practices, including worker welfare. Our worker welfare standards, which place a premium on worker safety and feature a zero tolerance policy towards the use of child labor and the abuse of workers, are built upon those introduced by global labor organizations and can be found at www.Driscolls.com/workerwelfare..."

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