Time and Place: Saturday, May 16th @ 10AM–Meet by Fresh & Easy Parking Lot: 1750 E. Channel Islands Blvd., Oxnard, CA 93033
LATEST NEWS 5/15/15: Striking Mexican farmworkers score tentative victory in San Quintin – (Key word “tentative.”) Can you live off of 13 DOLLARS a day? The struggle continues to ensure and defend the fulfillment of promised wage hikes, push for even better wages, eliminate banned pesticides, and ensure compliance by the Mexican government and the growers (Reiter-owned BerryMex) ~ San Quintín vive, la lucha sigue y sigue!! Oxnard y San Quintin… ciudades unidas en pie de lucha!!
The California Strawberry Festival is one of the largest outdoor annual events in California that celebrates the success of the multi-billion dollar global agricultural industry. However, this success has come at the great economic, social and overall health expense to those who pick the berries. The growers have maintained a blatant disregard for workers’ rights and wellbeing and have also neglected to take a stand as stewards of the environment by stopping the use of harmful industrial chemicals that affect the larger communities in order to continue to reap record profits year after year. The people of Oxnard believe that there is a better way to care for the environment and for farmworkers to have basic human dignity in their workplaces and that the only way to get there is to follow the lead of those who work the earth, grow and pick the fruit. In light of this reality, community members, workers’ organizations, and grassroots groups are uniting to demonstrate their resolve to boycott Driscoll’s strawberries and to follow the lead of farmworkers in their struggle for better lives at the California Strawberry Festival that is taking place in Oxnard on May 16th and 17th of 2015. According to an investigation by The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1Qscx8N), in the Baja California farms operated by Driscoll’s and Reiter Affiliated Companies:
- Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
- Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
- Laborers go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It’s common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
- Those who seek to escape their debts & miserable living conditions have to contend with violent guards, barbed-wire fences and threats of violence from camp supervisors.
- Major U.S. companies [like Driscoll’s, Reiter Affiliated Companies, and contractors like Sakuma] have done little to enforce basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.
For these reasons, in March 2015, 50,000 farmworkers in the San Quintin Valley organized the Alliance of National, State and Municipal Organizations for Social Justice, and launched a general strike to see their eight-hour pay raised from between $7.66 to $8 to the modest amount of $13.33 (200 pesos). This was immediately met by armed repression from the corrupt government of Enrique Peña Nieto. On April 8, 2015 the Alliance released a second communique that announced their resolve to join the Washington-based Familias Unidas por La Justicia’s ongoing boycott against their employer Sakuma Brothers Farms, Inc. and their Driscoll’s contracts by launching a “boycott against Driscoll’s and against the companies that make a profit based on the exploitation of our labor power” on April 10, 2015. Meanwhile, in agricultural California regions like Oxnard and El Rio, the strawberry industry has cast a toxic cloud above our neighborhoods. According to a study by the Center for Investigative Reporting, millions of pounds of fumigants are pumped into local soil on a yearly basis. These fumigants are banned around the world, but are used heavily in Oxnard. They have been linked to cancer, developmental problems and ozone depletion:
- Chloropicrin was used as chemical warfare (“vomit gas”) in the First World War.
- California regulators consider 1,3-Dichloropropene to be a carcinogen.
- The strawberry industry’s most popular fumigant, methyl bromide, was banned by an international treaty in the 1990s for eating huge holes in the ozone layer. California strawberry growers are still among the only ones still using methyl bromide.
These poisonous fumigants now enshroud our communities, as well as schools like Oxnard High School and Rio Mesa. JOIN US as we protest to denounce the horrible mistreatment of farmworkers and disregard for public health that the strawberry industry represents!
BOYCOTT DRISCOLL’S BERRIES
REITER AND DRISCOLL’S – YOUR LIES ABOUT “SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY” AND FAIR TREATMENT OF WORKERS HAVE BEEN EXPOSED
WORKERS HAVE THE UNCONDITIONAL RIGHT TO ORGANIZE
DIGNIFIED WAGES AND UNION RIGHTS FOR ALL FARMWORKERS
END THE RAMPANT SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE FIELDS
END THE USE OF TOXIC PESTICIDES
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL LABOR SOLIDARITY & WORKING-CLASS RESISTANCE – THE WORKERS STRUGGLE HAS NO BORDERS!