Petition for Review of Dole’s failure to adhere to OECD General Guidelines

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Date of publication: October 11, 2010

Source: ILRF

Author: Brian Campbell, ILRF

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The International Labor Rights Forum filed this case before the United States OECD National Contact Point (NCP) in support of Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU's efforts to end freedom of association violations at Dole Philippines, Dole Foods giant pineapple plantation on the Philippines.

Summary of ILRF's Complaint to the US OECD National Contact Point

Dole Philippines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dole Foods Company, Inc., has been engaged in systematic violations of its workers’ rights to freedom of association beginning in 2006 continuing to today. From 2001 to 2005, the union enjoyed growing support among the workers and a collaborative relationship with Dole management. Beginning during the 2005 union election campaign and the subsequent CBA negotiations in 2006 – 2007, Dole implemented policies and practices intended to undermine the union leadership. Since the Philippine government ordered a resolution to the contentious CBA negotiations in 2007, Dole management hastened efforts to undermine the union. Though AK-NAFLUKMU leadership won another resounding victory in 2008 and quickly negotiated and agreed to new contract terms with Dole management, Dole management continues to work with a splinter group of workers to undermine the union, eventually culminating in February 2010 with the illegal recognition of URDole/Gales Group as representatives of the workers over the democraticallyelected AK-NAFLU-KMU leaders.

Dole has violated General OECD Guidelines for responsible business conduct in employment and industrial relations for its: failure to respect the employees’ right to be represented by trade unions; discrimination against employees on grounds of political opinion; failure to facilitate and enable collective bargaining negotiations; policy of non-cooperation with employees; and failure to respect the human rights of those affected by their activities consistent with the host government’s international obligations and commitments.1 It is urgent that before the union certification election is held, measures must be in place to ensure free and fair elections. The upcoming union certification will be held on February 11, 2011.

AK-NAFLU-KMU is calling for the US NCP to examine this complaint, and offer their good offices to assist the parties to ensure that Dole Philippines, a wholly-owned arm of Dole Foods based in California, respect its workers’ right to freedom of association at its pineapple plantation and processing facilities in the Polomolok, Mindanao, Philippines. The union has called for the US National Contact Point:

(1) to assist with election monitoring by working in collaboration with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, and other agencies, to ensure that the workers on the Dole plantation in Polomolok have the opportunity to freely and fairly elect the leaders of their own choosing;

(2) to take immediate action to submit the parties to mediation in order to address the fundamental violations that have made free and fair union elections impossible including Dole’s use of a labor cooperative system;

and

(3) to issue a public written determination regarding Dole’s compliance with the OECD Guidelines and recommendations for Dole’s obligations under the OECD Guidelines.