Last month, Bon Appetit Management, announced their decision to no longer use any NORPAC products in any of their facilities nationwide, including close to 70 universities. Earlier this year, PCUN had brought the issues surrounding the NORPAC boycott to Bon Appetit's CEO, Fedele Bauccio's attention. Much to his credit, Bauccio agreed to stop using NORPAC products for the duration of the boycott.
What's happening now:
A front page article appears in today's agricultural weekly Capital Press, entitled "Food Vendor Joins PCUN boycott, A spokesperson for NORPAC, the target, said Oregon ag will suffer." The article sounds the alarm for Oregon argriculture in the first paragraph, stating; "What PCUN, the farmworker labor union hails as a victory in its boycott campaign against NORPAC Foods, the co-op says threatens to undermine Oregon's entire agricultural reputation and economy."
NORPAC spokesperson Brian Bell said; "A loss of this business to NORPAC has a negative effect on many people in Oregon agriculture...It's a direct effect on NORPAC and an indirect effect on others throughout Oregon ag."
Bon Appetit's CEO Fedele Bauccio defended his decision to stop using NORPAC products; "The most important thing is that we prefer to buy from people we feel are treating employees properly."
The article also mentions an informal Senate Committee hearing held last week; "to hear various points of view on the matter [the NORPAC boycott]". PCUN President Ramon Ramirez and NORPAC President Rick Jacobson both provided testimony at the hearing. We believe this may signal industry's attempt to introduce, either this session or next, a so-called "collective bargaining bill" that will provide no additional protection for farmworkers and will outlaw strikes and boycotts.
NORPAC's statements are the strongest indication yet of the impact of the NORPAC boycott. At the same time, we sincerely hope that NORPAC gets the message that it's now time to sit down and negotiate. The power to end the boycott is in their hands. If what Bell states is indeed true, we'd hope that other affected members of the agricultural community would add their voices to the call that it's time for NORPAC to sit down and negotiate in order to put an end to this boycott.
PCUN strongly commends Bon Appetit for taking the position it has in support of Oregon farmworkers. The company clearly takes its commitment to socialresponsibility quite seriously.