Chiquita Boycott

By Staff

Vol. 1, No. 9, 1979, pp. 8

The United Farm Workers Union (UFW)has called for a boycott of Chiquita bananas. Farmworkers in the southewestern U.S. are on strike agains a number of lettuce growers, including Sunharvest and Chiquita bananas. The bananas, with their familiar trade name, have been chosen as the boycott target. A boycott with national impact will help persuade Sunharvest/United Brands to negotiate in good faith with the union.

The main issue in the strike is wages. The employers insist on no more than a 7 percent wage increase, looking to Carter's wage guidelines to support their position. The farmworkers point out, however, that the price for a crate of lettuce has gone up 110 percent in the last year, and that for employers to stick to 7 percent wage guidelines with these kinds of price increases is ludicrous. Also, wage guidelines do not apply to those who earn less than $4.00 an hour. Many farmworkers do earn less than $4.00 hourly. The current minimum wage in UFW lettuce contracts is $3.70; their proposed increase is to $5.25.

Local work is starting around the boycott. Potential future activities include the forming of delegations to approach grocery stores, inform them of the boycott, and ask that they not stock Chiquita bananas. Funds also need to be raised to send to the Imperial Valley in California. More than 3000 farmworkers are in the fourth month of their strike. Money raised will go to the strike fund that supports the workers and their families. Anyone interested in this work can contact Norma Chandler at 763-0183.

Reprinted from the Circuit Rider, Atlanta, Georgia.