Berry choices: you decide!
This article was originally published in March 2016
PCC Natural Markets is offering a choice in fresh berries so you, our members and shoppers, can decide for yourselves how you’d like to respond to a call to boycott the Driscoll’s brand.
A farm workers union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), has called for a boycott of all Driscoll’s berries until one Driscoll’s supplier, Sakuma Brothers Farm in the Skagit Valley, signs a labor contract.
PCC stopped carrying Sakuma berries more than two years ago. We also do not sell berries from Mexico’s San Quintin Valley due to labor problems there.
We still sell Driscoll’s berries from other farmers, based on our experience that working through our supply chain is a practical and realistic way to effect change. We feel it’s better to be engaged, urging better practices by the farms Driscoll’s buys from, than to cut ourselves out of the conversation entirely. We continue to push our concerns up the supply chain to the companies that can influence growers directly.
At the January PCC board of trustees meeting, FUJ representatives and supporters addressed board members and PCC’s CEO. During the comment period, one PCC member suggested an alternative to the boycott: put the choice in shoppers’ hands.
We were inspired by this suggestion and now we offer fresh berries from other brands alongside Driscoll’s.
We also advocate systemic solutions — to bring all farm workers under the umbrella of federal statutes that govern work rules and other labor rights. The National Labor Relations Act (1935) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) excluded farm workers, and no law since has extended their fundamental rights and protections to the people who tend and harvest the foods on our tables. We have asked the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to help promote amendments to these statutes so farmworkers have the same rights all workers deserve.