After the success of the Mt. Olive Campaign in 2004, NC farmworkers won a collective bargaining agreement covering over 6,000 H2A guest-workers from Mexico, allowing the union to process hundreds of complaints, bringing a swift resolution to many problems in NC.
However, the work must be continuous as we build our union and take on new challenges, meaning that cross-border organizing has become even more crucial. “[Translated] If we want empowerment, we must keep educating ourselves about our rights and what we can do. Things have changed and they will keep changing with our support for FLOC,” said union member and tobacco farmworker Diego Reyes, during a meeting in San Luis Potosi, MX.
Throughout the winter months, FLOC organizers and rank and file union members tour Mexico, working to educate hundreds of farmworkers who head to NC every year for the agricultural season about labor rights in the US, rights under the FLOC union contract, and the broader state of organizing and politics in both the US and Mexico. “[translated] It makes us very happy that the union can accompany us here in Mexico. Communication with the membership is important because it inspires us to keep supporting unity,” said union leader and tobacco farmworker, Genaro.
Each year in March, leaders come together for a weekend leadership training to discuss topics such as the collective bargaining agreement’s grievance procedure and seniority system, new H2A regulations, union benefits, union finances, and how the union can improve internal procedures to build its strength.
Check out the reports from recent trainings:
“[translated] We are all excited about the union. [These meetings] make us keep pushing to get our “compañeros” to also get involved in the union and seek improvements in the fields,” said Effias, a FLOC member and activist.
We thank our supporters in both countries who have continued to support our members, providing labor, financial assistance, and room and board to accomplish this important work.