EFI taints ag companies at Fresh Summit 2017

Association with the UFW-Equitable Food Initiative partnership is a big drag on retail produce companies, exhibitors are learning at the industry’s Fresh Summit convention. Companies receiving sharp criticism are exhibitors Houweling’s Tomatoes, Earthbound Farm, NatureSweet, Utah Onions (renamed Onions 52), and Windset Farms. All are EFI members. Pick Justice is at the event in New Orleans right now, handing out flyers and speaking to company leaders. Growers have a variety of choices for “responsible” agriculture certifiers, and EFI is only…

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Growers learn how Equitable Food Initiative can damage their brand

Growers across the United States and the hemisphere are learning how the Equitable Food Initiative can damage their brand. Pick Justice is at the Produce Marketing Association’s annual Fresh Summit convention to explain to farmers how the EFI – headed by a top UFW official – can damage their brands. Our activists are talking to exhibitors to explain that, by having the UFW so involved with EFI certification of farms and food production, the growers are subjecting themselves to UFW’s…

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‘This is a disgrace for the union,’ mushroom worker says about UFW

The UFW is trying to persuade its members at Monterey Mushrooms that they should accept a huge pay cut down to minimum wage of $10.50 an hour. “This is a disgrace for the union,” worker leader Edith Ruiz told KION-TV in Spanish. KION operates channels 5 and 46 as a CBS affiliate. “The union and the company are hand-in-hand against us,” said mushroom worker José Guzmán. (“La unión y compañía están de la mano en contra de nosotros.”) “They pay…

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Is Equitable Food Initiative certifying tainted producers?

Has the UFW’s Equitable Food Initiative been certifying companies responsible for tainted produce that spread disease and is linked to at least one salmonella death in California? It looks that way. EFI, chaired by UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson, says it’s all about “food safety.” It has been criticized as acting as a UFW front designed to empower the dying union and inject cash as worker membership continues to fall. Some think that EFI is all about the money. A…

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Does EFI get paid to look the other way from companies it certifies?

Does the Equitable Food Initiative get paid to look the other way, to ignore workplace violations of companies that it certifies? It sure looks that way. We don’t have all the facts yet, but a reader sent us a tip on our Facebook page that needs to be checked. Our new video, “Alpine’s Rotten Asparagus,” shows how the Florida-based Alpine Fresh has joined the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), which we have shown to be a UFW pressure group tied to big…

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Alpine’s not-so-fresh asparagus: In cahoots with UFW

Alpine Fresh is a Florida-based agriculture company that’s in league with the UFW, even though its workers are not UFW members. Teaming up with big agribusiness and retailers – apparently in exchange for not unionizing their workers – the UFW is bringing in a new source of cash and credibility to what is otherwise a dying union. That scheme is called the Equitable Food Initiative, a Washington, D.C.-based pressure group chaired by UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson. EFI’s coalition includes Houweling’s…

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LA Times treats UFW and UFW front as two separate groups

The Los Angeles Times is treating the UFW one of its front organizations as two separate groups. In a January 12 story on produce standards in Mexico, the Times quoted UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson as a critic. That’s proper journalism. But the Times then quoted someone from the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) as a separate authority – without disclosing that UFW VP Nicholson is Chairman of EFI. That’s sloppy journalism. To put it kindly. EFI says it’s to help…

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Houweling’s rotten tomatoes

Houweling’s Tomatoes is in a toxic partnership with a UFW front group to try to show its customers that it’s “helping” farm workers. Houweling’s seems not to care that the UFW is in collusion with politicians to force contracts on workers who vote NOT to be part of the union that neglected them for a generation. The UFW front group, called the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), is a lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C., and partnered with low-cost retail giants…

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UFW chief laughs with Houweling CEO at big industry convention

UFW can’t get worker support, so it’s kissing up to farmers, who give something juicy in return. United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez acted like a big industry CEO at the Delaware-based Produce Marketing Association‘s #FreshSummit in Orlando, Florida last week. Houweling’s Tomatoes let Arturo have a little squeeze, according to its Facebook page. In this picture, Arturo looks like he’s part of the industry now. Who does the UFW represent now – the farmworkers? Or the produce industry. His picture…

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Meet FUJ, the nation’s newest farmworkers’ union

They got no support from the United Farm Workers (UFW), because the UFW is in cahoots with a big retailer. So the workers at Sakuma Brothers, a supplier of Driscoll’s berries, voted to set up their own union. After three years of organizing, the Sakuma workers in Washington State voted to formally organize FUJ: Familias Unidas por La Justicia (Families United for Justice). Ramon Torres heads the grassroots union. He used to work in the Sakuma berry fields, but “was fired…

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UFW is the new One Percent

The UFW has organized only 1 percent of farmworkers in California and is deficient in many ways. Yet it’s moving its operations offshore to Mexico and Central America to organize cheap labor for big business like Costco. Farmworkers are being sold out. What about the other 99 percent? With its membership just a fraction of what it was and almost no organizing in California fields, the United Farm Workers has begun moving its operations offshore to provide its partner Costco…

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Dolores Huerta describes how UFW is moving its operations offshore

UFW is focusing its operations offshore, union co-founder Dolores Huerta says. Huerta tells The Progressive, “the UFW is taking action in Mexico, Central, and South America against miserable farm worker pay and conditions and is working to produce safer, higher quality food while improving wages and other protections.” Huerta has come a long way from the days that she denounced foreign-born farmworkers as “wetbacks.” Agricultural Labor Relations Board Chairman William Gould lamented in January that UFW organizing in California “has…

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Damaged goods: Costco joins UFW “equitable food” front group

In what promises to be a blow to its brand image, Costco has teamed up with a UFW front group to that will funnel money into the dying union and mislead customers into thinking that non-approved produce is “unsafe.” The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is a Washington, DC-based lobby chaired by UFW Vice President Erik Nicholson. Costco is heavily involved with EFI. The Initiative’s board secretary, Preston Witt, is Costco’s “Manager Supplier Code,” according to the EFI website. Another EFI…

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Equitable Food Initiative? Why won’t Costco denounce UFW assault on woman?

Why won’t Costco denounce its partner, the UFW, for participating in the ugly assault on a San Jose woman last week? Costco and the UFW are co-founders of the “Equitable Food Initiative” to ensure “fairness” and “safety” for fresh produce. The Equitable Food Initiative looks more like a UFW protection racket, because growers and workers who don’t support the tiny, heavily politicized union, won’t get the Initiative’s seal of approval. Even so, that’s no excuse for Costco to remain silent…

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