Friday, October 30, 2015

Familias Unidas por la Justicia

Shining the Light on Our Social & Environmental Justice Action Work at 
BUF, Story of the Week

Familias Unidas por la Justicia is a newly formed Union, initially made 
up of migrant farmworkers (indigenous peoples from Mexico who speak 
Native languages rather than Spanish) working at Sakuma Berry Farm in 
Skagit County.  The Union has now spread down the West Coast into Mexico 
and is spreading to eastern parts of the country as well.  This new 
union has faced enormous struggles--lack of basic necessities when 
striking, threats, paid anti-union publicity campaigns, physical harm, 
etc.  C2C has been a strong support and information system for this 
union, and, via the partnership, many from BUF have been involved in 
their actions.

Recently, several BUF and C2C folks went down to join 60 or so others to 
peacefully demonstrate at Sakuma on Labor Day.  They physically blocked 
the entrance into the Sakuma processing plant, forcing trucks to go over 
land or via personal driveways to find a way in.  Police came,  but the 
demonstrators had lawyers along who persuaded the police not to take 
action. The part of the action, though, that the farmworkers found the 
most meaningful, was surprising. C2C staff suggested a theatrical 
demonstration where the workers' experience could be witnessed.  The 
workers acted out the supervisors using heavy-handed tactics to get the 
workers to pick faster than is right or healthy or even possible--and 
they acted out how they resisted.  But this time, they could show their 
resistance more strongly, forcefully and safely. And they burned the 
picking policy document.  Witnesses and those witnessed found this 
experience both powerful and empowering.

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