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From April 9-20, we officially launched a boycott of Reynolds American Inc. (now owned by British American Tobacco)’s VUSE e-cigarette brand with over 40 demonstrations outside of Kangaroo, Circle K, 7 Eleven, and Wawa convenience stores in New York, San Francisco, Orlando, Raleigh, Durham, Toledo, and other major US cities. The boycott was dedicated to FLOC organizer, Santiago Rafael Cruz, who was assassinated on April 9, 2007 in our office in Mexico to try to stop the union from aiding farm laborers and ending corruption in the H2A guest worker program. The AFL-CIO, International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF), and the National Farmworker Ministry have already formally endorsed the boycott.
Contact us at email@example.com if you’re interested in getting involved in the VUSE boycott!
Horacio Mendoza Lopez, a tobacco farmworker and FLOC member states, “In the tobacco fields, you find yourself with a lot of suffering, obstacles and barriers such as all of the illnesses, the heat, and the work injuries. Even though a lot of people think that what we’re doing is easy, we know that what we’re doing comes with a lot of sacrifice.”
Despite widespread national and international support for tobacco farmworkers’ demands, Reynolds still hasn’t agreed to sign an agreement with FLOC to guarantee farmworkers the right to unionize and negotiate better working conditions.
“As farmworkers, we work hard under the sun and we give our best effort. I have seen how tobacco companies fill their pockets with money and how they themselves push for farmworkers to have even lower salaries. We are fighting for better wages and for decent and dignified housing, and that’s why I’m calling for support of this boycott.” says Jose Camper Lopez, a farmworker and FLOC member.
Similar demonstrations will be replicated and spread to other cities in the US. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting involved in the VUSE boycott!
On September 9, 2017 FLOC members from Ohio and the Carolinas convened in Toledo, OH for FLOC’s 13th Constitutional Convention. Not only did this convention represent the culmination of a year of camp meetings, regional membership meetings in both Mexico and in the US, and the previous day’s committee meeting, but it also represented the successes of the past 50 years of FLOC’s work and constant struggle.
Members voted to reelect Baldemar Velasquez as president, Justin Flores as vice president, and Christiana Velasquez as Secretary Treasurer. They also voted for the FLOC Board and welcomed on two new board members: former FLOC Vice President Leticia Zavala and FLOC member and leader Eli Porras Carmona.
“[translated] I accepted the nomination with all of my heart and the will to accomplish many things for my coworkers. There is a lot to do, and I am sure that together we will accomplish la Victoria for all of our proposed resolutions.” – said newly elected board member Eli Porras.
Special guest speakers included Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson, Leonel Rivero, FLOC’s Mexico attorney, and Francisco Pablo Jimenez of MOCRI, a former political prisoner liberated after fighting contamination from mining companies in rural Mexico.
After the convention, allies joined FLOC members for a march and rally in downtown Toledo to defend immigrant rights and make sure that Toledo doesn’t become another Charlottesville. Click here to watch the march in action!
Members vote to boycott VUSE e-cigarette
Members presented, debated, and passed 13 resolutions including two emergency resolutions which will give the union leadership guidance on what the union’s work for the next four years will entail. Resolutions addressed important issues and topics like wages, housing, retirement benefits, immigration reform, and education.
One of the most important moments of the convention came when, in a unanimous vote, delegates passed a resolution to boycott Reynolds e-cigarette VUSE to escalate FLOC’s campaign with tobacco giant Reynolds American to guarantee farmworkers the right to organize!
Speaking to this resolution, Jose Benjamin, an H2A tobacco worker in North Carolina, said, “[translated] We have given a lot to the tobacco companies and in return they have given us very little. We are the ones who work, and we are the ones who suffer.”
Thank you to everyone who helped make this convention possible!
The convention would not have been possible without our amazing volunteers and drivers who helped register delegates, pick up and transport members, act as security to keep our members safe, and translate between Spanish and English. A special thanks to the National Farmworker Ministry and the YAYAs who drove here from Florida to participate and volunteer at the convention. And lastly, a HUGE thank you to our sponsors whose donations made this convention fiscally possible!
After a series of recent farm worker wins in NC, politicians that are also growers are now trying to use their legislative power to stop workers on their own farms from organizing for better wages and working conditions. Farm Bill S615 is a shameful abuse of power that takes aim at our union in a blatant attempt to stop farm workers from achieving union agreements that include wage increases, job security, benefits, and improved working conditions. Farm Bill S615 has already passed the NC House and Senate, and we are calling on Governor Cooper to veto the bill.
Media Roundup on Farm Bill, S615:
To: Governor Roy Cooper
From: [Your Name]
I am shocked to hear about Farm Bill S615, the latest attack that farmers elected to the State Legislature launched against farm workers.
State Rep. David Lewis, a tobacco farmer in Eastern NC, was pushing Senate Bill 375, which would make it harder for farm workers on his own farm to organize for better wages and working conditions. Not having the votes to pass the bill, Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a farmer from Warsaw, NC snuck it in as an amendment to Farm Bill, S615, which was passed on June 28 without opportunity for full discussion. These farmers are abusing their power as legislators to pass self serving laws to stop their own workers from unionizing.
Farm workers are excluded from the National Labor Relations Act and other worker protections like minimum wage, child labor, and workers compensation laws, among others. However, through the efforts of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), farm workers have won union contracts that include wage increases, job security, and improved working conditions, and this bill aims at stopping this progress.
We want to thank you for all of the good work you have done to reverse the mistakes of the past administration. As a long time advocate for working people, we ask that you veto Farm Bill, S615.
Vamos a tener 3 juntas regionales en NC en preparación para la convención en septiembre. Llame a nuestra oficina para confirmar su asistencia y buscarle transportación! 919-731-4433