• Dole is the world’s leading producer of fresh fruit and vegetables.
• Dole's reputation for destruction derives in part from allegations of poisoning thousands of workers in Central America with dangerous pesticides, despite them being banned in the United States, without warning of the devastating effects.
• Dole has been accused of impeding the rights of banana workers to organize.
• Fruit and vegetable producers suffer from low prices dictated by multinationals such as Dole.
• Work with Go Green to find Fair Trade, environmentally friendly produce alternatives.
-- Profile Updated 08/05/2010
In addition to its famous bananas and pineapples, Dole Food also operates a variety of fruit and vegetable plantations on five continents. Headquartered in California, Dole's 2006 sales were $6.1 billion. The company employs 72,000 people.
Dole Cut Flowers Campaign
The U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (US/LEAP) is calling on Dole to respect the basic rights of its cut flower workers. Workers established Sintrasplendor, an independent union, nearly two years ago on a Dole flower plantation in Colombia to improve poor working conditions. In April 2006, Dole agreed to support a “fair” process to determine union representation but negotiations have failed to produce an agreement or a fair resolution. Click on the URL below to urge Dole to respect the rights of its cut flowers workers.
There are no known affiliates associated with Dole .
Westlake Village, CA 91361 USA
Ethics and Governance
An investigation by England’s Guardian Newspaper has revealed that multinational fruit giants Chiquita, Dole and others are concealing an enormous portion of their income by sheltering it in offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands. In some cases, the effect is so severe that the companies pay as little as an 8% tax on profits, although the tax rate where their headquarters are located is 35%. The Guardian argues that the practice of hiding income injures both the countries where the bananas are sold, such as the United States and Britain, and the developing countries where they are produced. Furthermore, even as the fruit companies are paying less in taxes to the governments of the countries where they produce, the multinational companies are engaged in a campaign to cut labor costs and reduce wages. The combined effect is greatly increased profits for the corporation at the expense of workers and recipients of government services.
-- Guardian, 11/06/2007
Dole Fresh Flowers, a subsidiary of Dole Food Co., closed two of its 13 farms in Colombia, laying off 2,600 employees. Workers suspect Dole targeted Splendor-Corzo because of the past gains made by the union, Untraflores. 75 percent of its union members work at Splendor-Corzo. Estela Yepes, who was formerly employed at the Splendor-Corzo, recounted how her supervisor defended the company’s decision: “He told us in Africa they work for a bowl of soup a day- that in Colombia we workers made too many demands.”
-- Associated Press, 10/18/2006
A study done by US/Labor Education in the Americas Project (US/LEAP) found Colombia to be the deadliest country in the world to be a trade unionist. In the past 20 years, 4,000 Colombian union members have been killed; in the last year alone, 70 union members were assassinated. Dole Foods Inc. was cited in the study for impeding workers' right of assembly.
-- U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, 06/16/2006
Source URL: www.usleap.org/Resources/PRNovember2106.pdf
In a public letter to Dole Foods, over 70 human rights, student, women's, consumers, labor rights organizations, and trade unions highlighted the company's failure to respect basic worker rights such as freedom of association, the right to organize, and the right to bargain. The letter urges Dole to "make a commitment not only on paper, but also in practice," which can be measured in terms of increased number of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. The letter follows the publishing of "Dole, Behind the Smoke Screen," a report detailing evidence from workers in Latin America about the multinational company's refusal to comply with the principles it promotes. The report was produced in collaboration with People’s Solidarity, Banana Link, and several trade unions.
-- IUF, 05/18/2006
Health and Safety
A Los Angeles jury ruled in favor of a group of fruit growers in the first of five trials pitting thousands of Central Americans against the fruit giant Dole and pesticide manufacturer Dow Chemical. Although the jury did not find that all the defendants had been sufficiently injured by the companies to warrant compensation, in the case of 6 workers the jury felt that Dole and Dow had caused them grievous harm. Specifically, the workers were exposed by Dole to the pesticide Nemagon (DCPB), which among other toxic side effects can cause sterility. While Dole was found to bear the majority of the blame for exposing the workers, Dow, the manufacturer of the chemical, was found to have concealed and “actively suppressed” information regarding the pesticide’s reproductive toxicity. The workers won a total award of $3.3 million dollars, and the companies still face legal challenges from more than 5,000 other workers who claim that they were sterilized by exposure to Nemagon.
-- BBC News, 11/05/2007
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7080143.stm
During the closing statements of a civil trial pitting Nicaraguan banana growers against Dole Fresh Fruit Co., lawyers representing Dole claimed that the company should not be held responsible for the sterility of banana growers exposed to a known reproductive toxin because the workers in question “didn’t care about having children,” and because personal problems may have also interfered with their ability to start families. The workers allege that Dole’s internal documents reveal the company knew that the pesticide DBCP was dangerous, but concealed the information from workers and continued to use it on their bananas. Dow Chemical is a codefendant in the case. More than 5,000 banana growers from throughout Central America are suing Dole and Dow for health problems allegedly stemming from chemicals used by the two companies.
-- San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/11/2007
Federal health officials searched Natural Selection Foods LLC and Growers Express in response to 11 bags of Dole brand baby spinach tested positive for a strain of E. coli. Since August 2006, the E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened at least 183 others. The 8 samples that tested positive for E. coli were taken from cattle feces, collected from pastures next to the spinach fields. Investigators traced the E. coli outbreak to Natural Selection Foods, which processes and packages under 34 brands, including Dole. Natural Selection Foods resultantly recalled over 30 products.
-- Food and Drug Administration, 09/29/2006
Source URL: www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01474.html
Nicaraguan judge Socorro Toruño ruled that a number of American companies will pay compensation of $97 million to a 150 former banana workers suffering from permenant injuries due to pesticide exposure. The ruling ended a hunger strike by workers that had camped outside of the Red Cross. The companies named are: Standard Fruit Company, Dole Food, Dow Chemicals, Shell Oil Company (Shell Oil USA) and Occidental Chemical Corporation.
-- Fresh Plaza, 08/15/2005
Source URL: www.freshplaza.com/2005/15aug/1_ni_bananas.htm
In October 2004 thousands of banana pickers in Costa Rica filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against Dole and four other US companies, claiming exposure to a toxic pesticide caused a range of reproductive disorders. The suit accuses the companies of using dibromochloropropane on bananas in Central America after it was banned in the U.S. in 1979. The pesticide, a soil fumigant sold under the brand names Nemagon and Fumazone, is suspected of causing sterility, testicular atrophy, miscarriages, birth defects, liver damage and cancer when inhaled or absorbed by the skin, according to the lawsuit. The trial began in July 2007.
-- Illinois Sierra Club, 10/08/2004
In March 2004 a Nicaraguan court ordered Dole and two other US multinationals to pay $82.9 million dollars to 80 farmers made sick by the pesticide nemagon (also known as fumazone) on banana plantations in the 1970s.
-- Agence France-Presse, 03/03/2004
Source URL: none available
In February 2004 about 100 banana workers injured by contact with agro-chemicals used by US multinationals began a hunger strike in Nicaragua. The workers called on President Enrique Bolanos to support their demands for compensation from the multinationals. Since 1998 some 17,500 former farm workers from the northern Chinandega province have launched actions against eight US multinationals that either used or manufactured the pesticide Nemagon in Latin America in the 1970s. Use of Nemagon was banned in the 1960s after it was proven to be create health effects ranging from migraines, vision loss, liver and/or kidney damage, infertility, cancer, miscarriage and birth defects. The firms involved are Dole, Shell, Chiquita Brands International, Standard Fruit Company, Del Monte Tropical Fruit Company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Dow Agrom Sciences and del Monte Foods.
-- World Markets Analysis, 02/18/2004
Source URL: www.labournet.net/world/0311/nicarag1.html
In January 2002, Dole and five other pineapple growers and chemical companies paid the Honolulu Board of Water Supply almost $20 million to settle a lawsuit over contaminated water in Oahu. The chemicals dibromochloropropane (DBCP) and ethylene dibromide (EDB) and trichloropropane (TCP) made by defendants Shell Oil, Dow, and Great Lakes Chemical were used on pineapple crops by Del Monte, Dole and Libby. The Water Board received a payment of $19.95 million to cover filters containing granulated activated carbon in drinking water wells to meet federal and state water quality standards
-- Associated Press, 01/16/2002
Source URL: none available