For Immediate Release
Contact: Rachel Coehn, racohen78 [at] gmail.com (subject: Bumblebee%20Lawsuit%20Settlement)
WASHINGTON– Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) today welcomed a settlement with Bumble Bee Foods, under which the tuna giant agreed to remove specific claims about its fishing practices and working conditions, including “fair and safe supply chain” and “fair and responsible working conditions,” from its website, social media presence, and other public advertising to reach a mutual settlement of the lawsuit.
The resolution of the lawsuit coincides with the recent launch of the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea campaign to ensure fair and responsible working conditions for Taiwan’s migrant distant-water fishers. The fishers have launched a campaign for fundamental workers’ rights– including freedom of association and health and safety at work– and for Wi-Fi access on their vessels so they can protect those rights.
Migrant fishers, GLJ-ILRF and other Taiwanese and U.S. allies will bring the call for these rights to big seafood producers and brands at the North America Seafood Expo in Boston this weekend.
“This settlement is a step in the right direction, and we are hoping for productive dialogue with Bumble Bee and other industry actors and governments about ensuring accessible and encrypted Wi-Fi for fishers in Taiwan’s fleet. Wi-Fi on every vessel would enable workers to protect their fundamental labor rights on board and prevent labor exploitation. This is an opportunity for industry, governments, fishers, and their unions to work together towards a shared solution,” said Sahiba Gill, Senior Staff Attorney at GLJ-ILRF.
In March 2022, GLJ-ILRF filed suit in a Washington D.C. court against Bumble Bee Foods, LLC– North America’s largest canned tuna brand and subsidiary of Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company, Ltd. (FCF), a Taiwan-based seafood trader ranked as one of the top three in the world – over its marketing claims that it sources its tuna through a “fair and safe supply chain.” The lawsuit highlighted a history of labor problems in the deep sea fishing sector and demanded Bumble Bee show its advertising was backed up by meaningful practices to protect workers and the environment. Through the settlement, Bumble Bee agreed to remove the disputed statements for ten years.
“Now the work continues to ensure fishers in Bumble Bee’s supply chain and across the sector fish in decent conditions. Wi-Fi access for all fishers in the Taiwan fleet is a first step in that direction,” said Kimberly Rogovin, GLJ-ILRF Senior Seafood Campaign Coordinator.
GLJ-ILRF brought suit under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which allows public interest non-profit organizations to bring consumer protection claims on behalf of consumers and the general public. GLJ-ILRF was represented in this case by Richman Law & Policy.
Updates on the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea here
Read GLJ-ILRF’s report Wi-Fi for Fishers at Sea