Friday, October 16, 2009

Molly has reported before on the struggle of the United Farm Workers for justice for the agricultural workers employed by the Giumarra company. Here's the latest front in this campaign. The UFW are asking you to pressure the dreaded WalMart to demand responsibility from their main grape supplier- Giumarra. I dunno. Sorta like demanding that Hitler ask Mussolini to be more humane. (Actually such a thing did happen-once-in the course of the Second World War when the Nazis were offended by the brutality of the Vatican/Italian backed Ustasi in Yugoslavia)Worth a try anyways, as it is only part of a much larger campaign.

No smiley faces for Nature's Partner:
Tell Walmart to stop its supplier Giumarra's unlawful behavior
Walmart says it wants you to live better. But they apparently don't feel the same way about the workers who pick the grapes and other produce they sell in their stores. They sell grapes and other produce from Giumarra's Nature’s Partner label--despite knowing that this mega company abuses the grape workers who work in their vineyards.

Giumarra harvests approximately 1 out of every 10 bunches of grapes picked in the US. In addition they are a major label of imported and domestic produce. Combined with the market power of the Walmart behemoth, this huge conglomerate helps set the industry standard.

How does Giumarra abuse its workers? Here's an example. California law says a person needs to make twice the minimum wage before they can be required to buy equipment necessary to do their job. Giumarra workers make minimum wage plus on a good day perhaps an additional $8 a day piece rate bonus. Giumarra knows this law, but does that keep them from violating it? Not according to many workers we've spoken to.

Farm worker Monica Martinez, who has worked at Giumarra for the last ten years, tells the story:

"The equipment--gloves and scissors for grapes and other items--we must buy ourselves without any type of reimbursement or compensation. In 2005, after the election, they gave us the equipment for a while and then they stopped. Now they only give it when they want to. There are times when we need gloves and no one provides them. Making us work without gloves ruins our hands."

Enough is enough. Giumarra's illegal behavior must be stopped.
As a key buyer of Giumarra's imported and domestic produce--including grapes--Walmart has the ability to influence this produce giant. Please send Walmart an e-mail today and demand they exercise control over their suppliers by telling Giumarra/Nature's Partner to demonstrate corporate responsibility.
Please go to the link above or to THIS LINK to send the following letter to WalMart.
Walmart says it wants customers to "Save Money, Live Better". However, your good wishes do not appear to extend to the workers who pick the grapes and other produce you sell in your stores, because you sell produce under the "Nature's Partner" label from Giumarra--a company with a shameful record of abusing the grape workers who work in their vineyards.

Giumarra has a history of intimidating and bullying workers. Back in 2005, Giumarra's unlawful interference forced a union election to be thrown out by an administrative judge. This company's history with worker protection is also dismal with at least two farm workers dying from heat-related causes while laboring in their fields.

As a consumer, the "Nature's Partner" label doesn't mean good produce to me; it means produce brought to my table by a company, Giumarra, that consistently violates its workers' rights and endangers their lives.

Walmart can and should demand better from its suppliers. I ask you to exercise control over your suppliers by telling Giumarra/Nature's Partner to act responsibly towards its workers.

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