Bil Browning

Sesame Street supports cruel labor practices?

Filed By Bil Browning | May 21, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Big Bird, California, Elmo, immigrant labor, Oscar the Grouch, PBS, Sesame Street, Stemilt Cherries, unfair labor practices

Why in the world is Sesame Street partnering with Stemilt Cherries? Stemilt's website touts the partnership and you can find displays of Elmo saying, "Cherries put the bling in Elmo's Spring!" in your local supermarket.

Sesame Street supports unfair labor practicesMore than one hundred cherry pickers were evicted after talking to news media about their working and living conditions at Kyle Mathison Orchards. Kyle Mathison is part of the Stemilt Growers Company - the largest sweet cherry producer in the world. Besides being a partner of Stemilt, Kyle Mathison's cherries are sold under the Stemilt label.

The workers were forced to travel from Oregon and Washington to California to pick cherries by Stemilt representatives. When they arrived, some were given jobs while others were told to wait for work. While they were promised housing, none was provided. They had no choice but to sleep in the fields. Some stayed in tents, others in cars and still others slept on cardboard or simply the dirt. When workers went public, things only got worse. Stemilt company representatives called the sheriffs to have the 100 plus workers and their property evicted from the orchard.

Contact Sesame Street and tell them to drop the partnership. Brought to you by the letter "C" for "Compassion."


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That is horrible. Thanks for posting about this, Bil. I'm sending my letter right now.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | May 21, 2008 4:24 PM

As a kid, I believe that Sesame Street could do no wrong. I really hope that they come to their senses and end this partnership.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 22, 2008 12:46 AM

Victims of their own success. They must be greatly embarrassed, but people do sell agreements to use copyrighted images. My letter goes to them as well, but, once signed, Sesame has no choice but to honor the contract or appeal it to a court. It is probably a problem they hope will "age away" and they will fail to renew the relationship.

Agreements like these are sold as commodities by licensing agents who work on a commission for conducting the sale and have a formal responsibility to pre qualify any such "partners" to insure that the perceived quality of the licensed image is not damaged by the agreement. Firstly, I would hate to be that agent today, secondly this could be Sesame's way out if they are willing to lose three times the money they were paid for what could be just a seasonal ad agreement.

You can bet your "Pea Pickin Heart" that they will be aware of this next time.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll write a letter. but Robert makes a fine point (as per the usual).