by Bruce Ewen, AFT Local 2000 Member, Economics Professor and League of Extraordinary Educator member
Every Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m. for the last few weeks, enthusiastic volunteers from Amnesty International, Pax Christi, the National Lawyers Guild, the Michigan Solidarity Network with Mexico, friends of the Detroit Wobblies (IWW), the Forgotten Workers’ Picnic, and now AFT Local 2000 have joined in action asking Whole Foods Market customers to boycott Driscoll Berries and ask the management to stop buying and selling Driscoll’s products until farmworker demands at Sakuma Brothers Growers in Washington State are met.
The following is from the leaflet we passed out at the Midtown Whole Foods Market on Mack and John R., and will be handing out every Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m. You are all welcome to participate!
Farmworkers are some of the most underpaid and hardest working, yet are exempt from the most basic legal protections, including child labor law.
They work in terrible and unsafe conditions, and bosses have preyed on women.
Management has retaliated against workers for simply asking for better conditions, breaks and a higher piece rate pay, splitting up family housing based on gender, creating a hostile work environment.
Sakuma Brothers Growers has broken agreements with workers and stopped negotiating completely.
Please do not buy Driscoll’s berries until they negotiate with workers. Their demands are not at all out of line.
➢ Respect of basic rights as guaranteed by law
➢ End to wage theft, end to violence against women workers and end to child labor exploitation
➢ Access to health care and the right to organize
Publicly and openly supporting every worker faced with unjust working conditions and pay is necessary if we expect community support to help us turn around injustice at any of our locals.
And, after all, it is the right thing to do.
That is why we have a labor union and are affiliated with state and national organizations, paying dues to enable protection of our members, and to support all who are unionized or trying to form labor unions, in a country that is making every attempt to squash our right to have our own democratic organizations, while allowing the highly organized wealthy and large corporations to use the government for their own needs without paying their fair share of taxes, becoming “free riders”.
The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a phrase as American as sweet potato pie, cannot be a reality for all without basic protections from the government; a living wage, affordable quality health care, affordable quality education, an adequate and safe infrastructure paid for by shared taxes (the original crowdfunding), and regulations to ensure stability, equity, and equal opportunity and justice for all in this society.
Please join in solidarity actions as they increase in the metro area. An injury to one is an injury to all, folks. And a people united can never be defeated! Stand and Deliver!
With respect to and solidarity with all who have given their working lives to serve students.
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