Daily News Archive

Support FLOC’s Mt. Olive Pickle Company Boycott
(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2003) According to the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), the North Carolina farmworkers that pick cucumbers for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company labor under sweatshop conditions. FLOC states that a harvester of the cucumbers that become Mt. Olive Pickles gets roughly 65 cents per 33 pound bucket (averaging 6 buckets an hour). The workers usually sleep in housing packed with many more workers than humanely fit, and the workplace seldom has a toilet close or clean enough to use or soap for washing hands. When the farmworkers are injured or sick, they rarely find a first aid kit or someone to take you to the doctor.

Although the company makes millions each year from selling its pickles, Mt. Olive refuses to give the workers who harvest its pickles a voice in contract negotiations. Mt. Olive claims that because the farm owners technically employ the workers, it is up to the farm owners to increase wages and improve working conditions. However, the company is barely paying the farmers enough for their cucumbers to get by. Only an agreement between the company, the farmers, and farmworkers will create a process by which problems can be resolved openly and workers can get their fair share without overburdening already struggling farmers.

Take Action: The following are actions that FLOC recommends to get the farmworkers the rights that they deserve:

  1. Get organized. Form a support committee in your area or work with one that already exists.
  2. Get your church, union, community group, Girl Scout troop, Elks Lodge, political party, bowling league, or bridge club to endorse the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. boycott by signing a resolution form (available by calling FLOC’s NC office at 919-489-4485).
  3. Send FLOC scouting reports of where you see Mt. Olive Co. pickles sold—what states and in what stores.
  4. Picket lines at food stores that carry Mt. Olive Co. products. These include national chains like Kroger Co. stores. In the south, the "house brand" pickles for Food Lion and Harris-Teeter stores are packed by Mt. Olive Pickles.
  5. Write letters to the editor.
  6. Hand out literature at community events.
  7. Speak to any organization that will listen; get them to endorse boycott.
  8. Send a letter to Bill Bryan, Mt. Olive Co. CEO—today. His address is: PO Box 609 Mt. Olive, NC 28365. Also, email him at [email protected] or give him a call at 800-672-5041.

The Mt. Olive Pickle Company Boycott is being organized by FLOC, 1221 Broadway, Toledo, OH 43609, 419-243-3456. For more information on the boycott, see www.floc.com.