Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Second Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman

Reader 2

Cindy Forster

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Rights Information

©2024 Grace M Hill


SITRACHIRI is the only union out of twenty-eight Chiquita banana plantations in Costa Rica that has substantial power from a collective convention–a contract negotiated with the company to establish workers rights and benefits. In the last negotiation period (November 2021-April 2023), Chiquita refused to compromise, delayed the negotiation, and liquidated workers en masse. This study explores SITRACHIRI’s biggest challenge: why workers accepted liquidations and why many have not returned to the Union. Data was collected through 52 interviews with workers, Union board members, and Chiquita administrators on Finca 96. Workers liquidated out of financial need and because Article 29 of the Costa Rican Labor Code forces liquidations every eight years or workers lose severance money they are entitled to. While liquidated workers could return, many have not done so because Chiquita strategically uses a “divide and conquer” strategy to separate Latino and Ngäbe Indigenous workers, creating ethnic tension in the Union. Another factor explaining the decline of Union affiliates is the growing number of workers with temporary contracts. Chiquita extends the trial periods of temporary workers beyond the ninety-day legal limit, effectively denying them the ability to affiliate with the Union and the security of a permanent contract. Despite the significant challenges it faces, the Union continues to support its workers because of the community’s resilience. Their strength is rooted in diversity, teamwork, and expansive communal networks held together by quality time and mutual aid.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.