Fighting for worker justice in the global economy.
Dole Global Campaign
USLEAP joined with 74 other organizations in sending a letter on May 18, 2006 to the Dole Food company, charging it with failing to respect basic workers rights, especially freedom of association, the right to organize and the right to negotiate a contract.
Simultaneously, USLEAP, COLSIBA and six other organizations released a special report entitled, "Dole, Behind the Smoke Screen," documenting Dole worker rights violations in Latin America. USLEAP and other signers of the letter called on Dole "to make a commitment not only on paper, but also in practice." The report is also available on-line in Spanish. English-language copies are available upon request from the USLEAP office.
The letter followed an April 1, 2006 letter sent to Dole by the Coordination of Latin American Banana Worker Unions (COLSIBA) demanding that Dole respect fundamental worker rights.
In March 2007, Dole and banana unions in Costa Rica signed a country-specific agreement intended to increase Dole's respect for worker rights. The campaign continues, however, until further advances are made and progress is made on the ground.
In August 2007, USLEAP joined over 50 groups in another sign-on letter to Dole about the company's failure to move forward on worker rights.
In July 2008, Dole signed contracts with two flower worker unions in Colombia. It took the workers nearly four years of struggle to win these first contracts and hundreds of workers lost their jobs during the fight. In early 2009, Dole sold all of its flower operations in Latin America.
In 2011, in an important advance, Dole signed a contract with a 500-worker union in Ecuador, the world's largest banana exporter.
Lawsuit Alleges Dole Funding of Paramilitaries and Murders in Colombia
In April 2009, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Dole on behalf of 73 people, victims of murdered trade unionists and farmers in the banana-growing region of north Colombia, accusing the company of funding paramilitaries to carry out assassinations and terror tactics in order to protect its banana operations.
The April 28, 2009 lawsuit filed in California courts charges that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries received regular payments for more than a decade from Dole in exchange for "security services." These violent services allegedly included "driving small farmers from their land to allow Dole to plant bananas; driving leftist guerillas out of the banana zones, and in the process murdering thousands of innocent people, including relatives of the 73 plaintiffs; keeping unions out of Dole's banana plantations by murdering union leaders and using terror tactics to discourage workers from joining unions or from negotiating collective bargaining agreements with Dole."
In a statement released the day after the suit, Dole "categorically rejects the baseless allegations," stating "this lawsuit is irresponsible and the allegations are blatantly false."
Check out our collaborative labor rights blog, Labor is Not a Commodity!