Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Driscoll's and Berrymex, lookin' at you

Striking San Quintín farmers decry abuses by agricultural companies

San Quintín's farm workers make about $6 per 12-hour day.
San Quintín's farm workers make about $6 per 12-hour day.

Dry air and native plant life overlooking a bay are the gorgeous dress in which the mountains of Baja welcome anyone with the time and taste to appreciate the natural landscape of Ensenada. But the air has felt unusually heavy over the past week as over half of San Quintín’s 75,000 agricultural workers have gone on strike, citing exploitation and abuse as just part of their 30-year grapple with regional farms.

"It would be nonsensical to go against our own people," said a store owner.

San Quintín is a rural community 125 miles south of Ensenada known for its swaths of cucumber, strawberry, and tomato crops, of which over 98 percent goes to California and Europe, fetching high prices for their small labels reading "organic."

The demands of the mainly indigenous workers are as follows: increase the minimum salary (currently around 100 pesos or about $6 per 12-hour day) to 300 pesos; provide access to basic government medical care programs, as is their constitutional right; stop the abuse of the elderly in the fields and stop sexual harassment against female workers by farm staff; and revoke and cancel contracts with government-paid unions.

Strikers call out Berrymex, Driscoll's, and Los Pinos as among the most oppressive employers in San Quintín.

"We're just working our land,” says striker Luciano, 67. “That's it. Private companies are very brutal to us. Authorities don't listen. The governor doesn't listen. The municipal president doesn't listen. We get 100 pesos per day, and food is only going up. Not even counting meat of any kind. We can't afford to imagine that anymore. Yet we are only asking for what belongs to us rightfully, and the government answers with riot cops. We don't want violence. We want answers"

On March 26, municipal, state, and federal forces joined army troops in the streets of San Quintín, keeping a watch on the strikers’ campsites. Meanwhile, strike leaders are working toward an agreement with the delegates of indigenous, work, and agricultural affairs, but progress is slow and uncertain.

The majority of small businesses and markets in the area are supportive of the strike. A San Quintín market owner who asked to remain anonymous stated, "[The workers] make the product what it is. They make this market possible. It would be nonsensical to go against our own people."

In the workers’ absence, farms have been machine-plowing fields, incurring huge losses but salvaging what little they can. So far, no farm representatives have appeared publicly or made any statement on the strike.

Update 3/27, 9:30 p.m.

Driscoll's VP Marcus Gamo contacted the Reader to point out that the company had in fact issued a statement yesterday. Also, Gamo said that the author's "statement that strikers call out Driscoll’s as an oppressive employer is inaccurate as well, as Driscoll’s does not grow berries in the town of San Quintín or anywhere in Baja. The brand works with 100s of independent farms globally, that does include BerryMex, but does not employ the workers that are striking directly."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
San Quintín's farm workers make about $6 per 12-hour day.
San Quintín's farm workers make about $6 per 12-hour day.

Dry air and native plant life overlooking a bay are the gorgeous dress in which the mountains of Baja welcome anyone with the time and taste to appreciate the natural landscape of Ensenada. But the air has felt unusually heavy over the past week as over half of San Quintín’s 75,000 agricultural workers have gone on strike, citing exploitation and abuse as just part of their 30-year grapple with regional farms.

"It would be nonsensical to go against our own people," said a store owner.

San Quintín is a rural community 125 miles south of Ensenada known for its swaths of cucumber, strawberry, and tomato crops, of which over 98 percent goes to California and Europe, fetching high prices for their small labels reading "organic."

The demands of the mainly indigenous workers are as follows: increase the minimum salary (currently around 100 pesos or about $6 per 12-hour day) to 300 pesos; provide access to basic government medical care programs, as is their constitutional right; stop the abuse of the elderly in the fields and stop sexual harassment against female workers by farm staff; and revoke and cancel contracts with government-paid unions.

Strikers call out Berrymex, Driscoll's, and Los Pinos as among the most oppressive employers in San Quintín.

"We're just working our land,” says striker Luciano, 67. “That's it. Private companies are very brutal to us. Authorities don't listen. The governor doesn't listen. The municipal president doesn't listen. We get 100 pesos per day, and food is only going up. Not even counting meat of any kind. We can't afford to imagine that anymore. Yet we are only asking for what belongs to us rightfully, and the government answers with riot cops. We don't want violence. We want answers"

On March 26, municipal, state, and federal forces joined army troops in the streets of San Quintín, keeping a watch on the strikers’ campsites. Meanwhile, strike leaders are working toward an agreement with the delegates of indigenous, work, and agricultural affairs, but progress is slow and uncertain.

The majority of small businesses and markets in the area are supportive of the strike. A San Quintín market owner who asked to remain anonymous stated, "[The workers] make the product what it is. They make this market possible. It would be nonsensical to go against our own people."

In the workers’ absence, farms have been machine-plowing fields, incurring huge losses but salvaging what little they can. So far, no farm representatives have appeared publicly or made any statement on the strike.

Update 3/27, 9:30 p.m.

Driscoll's VP Marcus Gamo contacted the Reader to point out that the company had in fact issued a statement yesterday. Also, Gamo said that the author's "statement that strikers call out Driscoll’s as an oppressive employer is inaccurate as well, as Driscoll’s does not grow berries in the town of San Quintín or anywhere in Baja. The brand works with 100s of independent farms globally, that does include BerryMex, but does not employ the workers that are striking directly."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Corner Chicken spices up East Village

Tajima team embraces San Diego’s hot chicken moment
Next Article

Pandemic dating smalltalk

Stop talking about current events to the extent they concern public health in any way shape or form whatsoever
Comments
1

Good to report on this. Von's sells Driscoll's berries if you want to know where to boycott until this strike is settled.

March 28, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close