NFWM Celebrates Union Contract Signed by FUJ and Sakuma Bros. Farms

FUJ President Ramon Torres shakes hands with Sakuma general manager Danny Weeden following the contract signing. Copyright David Bacon

On June 16, 2017, Familias Unidas por la Justicia and Sakuma Berry Farm signed an historic two year collective bargaining agreement. “This contract gives us a voice at work and recognizes and values our skills as professional hand harvesters of premium berries like Sakuma Berry Farm grows,” said Ramon Torres, President Familias Unidas por la Justicia. 

Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) members turned out on the evening of June 15th to overwhelmingly ratify the tentative collective bargaining agreement presented by their negotiations committee. After an overview of the contract the Mixteco and Triqui hand harvesters, men and women, lined up to cast their ballots. Official vote counters Jeff Johnson President of the WA State Labor Council and Steve Garey former President of the Steelworkers Local 12-591 tallied the vote and announced it was over 85% in favor of ratifying the tentative agreement.
The next day, June 16th, Sakuma Bros. Farm and Familias Unidas por la Justicia’s representatives signed the collective bargaining agreement.
“I’m proud to be a union member and to have participated in the negotiation of a contract, I learned that its possible to ensure both good wages and protections from retaliation” said Celestino Santos, a member of FUJ’s Negotiations Committee.

The harvesting season began Monday, June 19th with contractual benefits for members of FUJ hand harvesting the berries. Among the benefits union members will receive is an average $15 an hour wage.

Ramon Torres FUJ President said, “This is a historic victory for all our members that harvest berries, they are happy to be working at Sakuma Farms with a union contract, everybody is ready to get to work, there will soon be union berries in the marketplace!”

To NFWM Supporters — THANK YOU FOR HELPING MAKE THIS  FARM WORKER VICTORY POSSIBLE !  

Because of your faithful and determined support for Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), the men and women who work the berry fields at Sakuma Bros. Farm have started the 2017 season WITH A UNION CONTRACT!!

Thank you for the 1000+ postcards sent to the companies boycotted during the campaign.  Thank you for your letters, phone calls, pickets and prayers of support for the workers.

All of us at NFWM are proud to be steadfast allies of FUJ.  We rejoice with the farm workers that they now have better wages and protections …and the power of a union contract to ensure these.

NFWM’s solidarity is only as strong as the participation of our supporters.  So, THANK YOU!  And please continue supporting NFWM with your actions and donations, so that we can continue to provide vital support to our farm worker partners.

Contact us

National Farm Worker Ministry
P.O. Box 10645
112 Cox Ave., Suite 208
Raleigh, NC 27605
Email us here
919-807-8707 (office)