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400 FLOC Members Gather to Participate in Union Democracy and Vote to Launch Massive Sign Up Campaign

On October 12, 2013, nearly 400 FLOC members gathered in Durham, NC for FLOC’s 12th Constitutional Convention. This was the culmination of a year’s worth of camp meetings, regional membership meetings, and the previous day’s committee meetings, which gave farmworkers the decision making ability to guide their union’s work and speak out about the issues they are facing.

Resolutions Committee co-chairs Jose Gonzalez Sandoval and Maria Elena Valdez led the delegates in reading, debating, and passing 16 resolutions which will give the elected FLOC leadership guidance on what issues to pursue as vital to the farmworker movement. Resolutions addressed key field issues such as wages, housing, breaks on the job, but also broader political issues, such as immigration reform and a continued effort to convince tobacco manufacturers to clean up their supply chain.

Speaking to the resolution on the fight for a just minimum wage for farmworkers, FLOC member-delegate Pedro Ramirez said, “[translated] We work extremely hard under the most difficult circumstances so that we can feed and clothe our family and making less than $8 an hour is not a dignified salary, so I support this resolution and look forward to working on it!”

Members vote to launch 5,000 farmworker sign up campaign

One of the most important moments of the convention came when, in a unanimous vote, delegates passed a resolution to continue the Reynolds Campaign to pressure tobacco giant Reynolds American to protect workers’ rights in its supply chain, and to launch a massive sign up campaign to organize 5,000 new tobacco farmworker members in the 2014 harvest season. The chair of the constitution committee stressed the importance of organizing new members. “These companies are getting rich off of our work, and as we grow, we build the strength we need to win dignified work conditions!”

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