FRESH DEL Monte Produce Co.'s labor record in the U.S. is rotten--and activists across the U.S. are sending a message with protests and a union-backed boycott of the company's fruit.
With a rally in downtown Philadelphia, dockside pickets in Manatee, Fla., and Galveston, Texas, and a show of support in Denver, the Friends and Family of International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1291 sent a message that the company's shift of work away from some 200 ILA members won't be tolerated.
The day of action came about eight weeks after ILA members in the ports of Philadelphia and New York-New Jersey refused to cross picket lines of workers who had lost their jobs when Fresh Del Monte moved its shipments from a Camden, N.J., port worked by the ILA to a low-wage facility in nearby Gloucester, N.J. (Fresh Del Monte Produce is an exporter of fruits to the U.S., and is not affiliated with Del Monte Foods, which sells packaged foods.)
That two-day port shutdown brought employers to the bargaining table. But Fresh Del Monte Produce hasn't budged from its determination to shift work to a private facility run by the Holt family, which employs a scab union, Dockworkers Union Number 1, and pays wages of only about half the levels that ILA workers receive.